Donald Trump’s bedraggled MAGA supporters can finally rest easy.
The Department of Justice has finally found evidence of election fraud.
Unfortunately for the conspiracy-minded QAnon crowd, the evidence relates to the 2016 presidential election and involves a Trump supporter who used social media “to disseminate misinformation designed to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote,” according to a press release announcing the arrest of Douglass Mackey, aka Ricky Vaughn, 31, of West Palm Beach.
Mackey posted on Twitter under his alias on an account that he managed to grow to around 58,000 followers, making him the 107th most important influencer of the then-upcoming 2016 election, according to a February 2016 analysis by the MIT Media Lab.
Rather than simply posting tweets supporting Donald Trump during the runup to the election, however, Mackey used his Twitter feed as well as other social media platforms “to disseminate fraudulent messages designed to encourage supporters of one of the presidential candidates (the “Candidate”) to “vote” via text message or social media, a legally invalid method of voting,” according to the DOJ.
Suffice it to say that the “Candidate” in question, whose potential voters were being conned into believing that they had voted via text message or tweet, was Hillary Rodham Clinton and the beneficiary of “Ricky Vaughn’s” tweets was one Donald Trump.
“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 Justice Department’s press release states.
“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,” it continues.
Nicholas L. McQuaid, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division condemned Mackey’s alleged criminally deceptive actions.
“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,” he said. “This complaint underscores the department’s commitment to investigating and prosecuting those who would undermine citizens’ voting rights.”
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was equally scathing and warned others who might try to do something similar.
“There is no place in public discourse for lies and misinformation to defraud citizens of their right to vote,” DuCharme said. “With Mackey’s arrest, we serve notice that those who would subvert the democratic process in this manner cannot rely on the cloak of Internet anonymity to evade responsibility for their crimes. They will be investigated, caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office chimed in on the arrest as well.
“Protecting every American citizen’s right to cast a legitimate vote is a key to the success of our republic,” he said. “What Mackey allegedly did to interfere with this process – by soliciting voters to cast their ballots via text – amounted to nothing short of vote theft. It is illegal behavior and contributes to the erosion of the public’s trust in our electoral processes. He may have been a powerful soc
The wheels of justice sometimes turn slowly, but it’s certainly gratifying to see the claws of law enforcement grab this political dirty trickster, albeit four years after the fact.
One has to wonder whether the prosecutors were waiting until Donald Trump was safely out of office before filing the charges in an effort to prevent yet another pardon from the unscrupulous then-president.
Take this indictment and chew on it, MAGATs!
The only documented voter fraud out there all seems to be coming from the Republican side.
Next time direct your threats to the right party.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.