Just in from the Department of Justice:
A Florida man was arrested this morning on charges of conspiring with others in advance of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election to use various social media platforms to disseminate misinformation designed to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote.
Douglass Mackey, aka Ricky Vaughn, 31, of West Palm Beach, was charged by criminal complaint in the Eastern District of New York. He was taken into custody this morning in West Palm Beach and made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart of the Southern District of Florida.
“According to the allegations in the complaint, the defendant exploited a social media platform to infringe one the of most basic and sacred rights guaranteed by the Constitution: the right to vote,” said Nicholas L. McQuaid, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
“This complaint underscores the department’s commitment to investigating and prosecuting those who would undermine citizens’ voting rights.”
For example, on Nov. 1, 2016, Mackey allegedly tweeted an image that featured an African American woman standing in front of an “African Americans for [the Candidate]” sign.
The image included the following text: “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home. Text ‘[Candidate’s first name]’ to 59925[.] Vote for [the Candidate] and be a part of history.”
The fine print at the bottom of the image stated: “Must be 18 or older to vote. One vote per person. Must be a legal citizen of the United States. Voting by text not available in Guam, Puerto Rico, Alaska or Hawaii. Paid for by [Candidate] for President 2016.”
The tweet included the typed hashtags “#Go [Candidate]” and another slogan frequently used by the Candidate. On or about and before Election Day 2016, at least 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted “[Candidate’s first name]” or some derivative to the 59925 text number, which was used in multiple deceptive campaign images tweeted by the defendant and his co-conspirators.
Woooow. Notorious troll and white nationalist Ricky Vaughn (real name Douglass Mackey) charged with election interference for “disseminating misinformation designed to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote” in the 2016 election. Facing up to 10 years. pic.twitter.com/xdQzCYF9Ja
— Brandy Zadrozny (@BrandyZadrozny) January 27, 2021
White supremacist, racist, woman hater, @Trump supporter and fan of @KremlinRussia Ricky Vaughn aka Douglass Mackey, INDICTED by @TheJusticeDept today, thank you @FBI – possibly an indictment held til Trump left office. This hate-filled Middlebury graduate was in his late 20s. pic.twitter.com/BLi8YEHAsy
— Patribotics (@patribotics) January 27, 2021
Douglass Mackey, aka far-right influencer “Ricky Vaughn,” has been charged in Brooklyn Fed with 2016 election interference, with a scheme to limit black turnout.
The complaint cites this meme and BuzzFeed story. https://t.co/gN6AzrfSVW
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) January 27, 2021