Far-right social media “influencer” Douglass Mackey, was sentenced last week to seven months in federal prison for spreading false information about the 2016 presidential election on Twitter in an attempt to suppress Democrat turnout, the Associated Press reported.
Mackey, who posted under the pseudonym Ricky Vaughn, was convicted of conspiracy against rights earlier this year following a trial in a Brooklyn federal court.
Prosecutors accused Mackey of conspiring with others between September and November 2016 to post false information instructing supporters of Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton to vote for their candidate via social media or text message.
One meme posted on Mackey’s Twitter account showed a woman posing in front of an “African Americans for Hillary” sign that included a message encouraging Hillary voters to avoid lines by voting from home and instructing them to, “Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925.”
According to US Attorney Breon Peace, Mackey was weaponizing disinformation as part of a “dangerous scheme” to prevent certain voters, particularly minorities and women, “from participating in our democracy.”
Before his sentencing, Mackey’s lawyer Andrew Frisch asked the judge in a memorandum to spare his client from prison.
Frisch argued that in 2018, Mackey had begun undergoing therapy in an attempt to get his life on track. Frisch told the judge that Mackey was not the same man he was seven years ago.
However, Judge Ann Donnelly denied Frisch’s request.
According to the New York Times, before sentencing Mackey, Judge Donnelly described him as “one of the leading members” of a conspiracy that amounted to nothing less than “an assault on our democracy.”