Douglass Mackey found guilty of violating rights with 2016 memes telling Hillary fans to vote by text

By | March 31, 2023

Rolling Stone reports:

A jury has found former internet troll Douglass Mackey guilty of violating people’s constitutional right to vote by disseminating memes encouraging Democrats to vote via text in the 2016 election. The decision comes after more than four days of deliberations.

During the two-week trial, the prosecution presented testimony by MicroChip, a co-conspirator-turned-cooperating witness, who was identified by only his social media handle. On the stand, MicroChip spoke of his mission to sow chaos ahead of the election, driven by his hatred of Clinton, according to reporting by the New York Times. His account was a major pro-Trump engine of disinformation leading up to the 2016 election. The man behind MicroChip has claimed to be a software developer from Utah, and in 2017 told Buzzfeed News that he took Adderall to work 12 hour shifts running an army of bots that generated 35,000 retweets daily.

Mackey, 33, testified in his own defense, saying he’d never intended to trick anyone, the Times reported. As a Trump supporter, he claimed he’d only hoped to catch media attention and get under the skin of his political opponents to potentially “rile them up, get under their skin, get them off their message that they wanted to push.”

Once known to his 58,000 Twitter followers as “Ricky Vaughn,” Mackey was arrested and charged in Jan. 2021. According to a criminal complaint against Mackey, in the months and weeks ahead of the 2016 election, he and unnamed co-conspirators created several phony campaigns encouraging people to vote via hashtags on Twitter and Facebook, while they joked in group chats that the “dopey shitlibs” would fall for it. [Continue reading…]