by Harold Hutchison
The Justice Department announced Friday that a jury convicted social media “troll” Douglass Mackey over internet memes posted during the 2016 presidential election.
Legal experts raised concerns about the trial of the 33-year-old Mackey, who posted under the alias “Ricky Vaughn 99,” earlier this year on First Amendment grounds. The Department of Justice indicted Mackey in January 2021, claiming he conspired “to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person … in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution.”
“Between September 2016 and November 2016, Mackey conspired with other influential Twitter users and with members of private online groups to use social media platforms, including Twitter, to disseminate fraudulent messages that encouraged supporters of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to ‘vote’ via text message or social media which, in reality, was legally invalid,” the United States Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York said in a release.
Mackey faces up to 10 years in prison.
The verdict is in: Douglass Mackey has been found guilty.
— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) March 31, 2023
“Mackey has been found guilty by a jury of his peers of attempting to deprive individuals from exercising their sacred right to vote for the candidate of their choice in the 2016 Presidential Election,” United States Attorney Breon Peace said in the release.
“Today’s verdict proves that the defendant’s fraudulent actions crossed a line into criminality and flatly rejects his cynical attempt to use the constitutional right of free speech as a shield for his scheme to subvert the ballot box and suppress the vote,” Peace continued.
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Harold Hutchison is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Douglass Mackey” by Douglass Mackey. Background Photo “U.S. Department of Justice” by Coolcaesar. CC BY-SA 3.0.