Right-wing Twitter poster receives 7-month jail sentence in vote-suppressing conspiracy

Lying on Twitter is free speech, right? If you're lying about how to vote as part of a voter suppression scheme, it's a federal crime that may well land you in jail. A right-wing commentator, Douglass "Ricky Vaughn" Mackey, is headed to prison for 7 months after posting falsely that one can vote by text message.

For example, they said, Mackey tweeted a photo of a woman standing in front of an "African Americans for Hillary" sign. "Avoid the Line. Vote from Home," the tweet said. "Text 'Hillary' to 59925."

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement that Mackey "weaponized disinformation in a dangerous scheme to stop targeted groups, including black and brown people and women, from participating in our democracy."

Mackey's attorney, Andrew Frisch, asked in a memorandum to the judge that his client be spared prison. Frisch said that Mackey started psychotherapy in 2018 in an effort to change his life and "is not Ricky Vaughn of seven years ago."

The New York Times has more on where the frozen peaches ended and the hot sauce began: Man Who Spread Misinformation on Trump's Behalf Sentenced to 7 Months.

During a trial last spring, prosecutors presented evidence that the man, Douglass Mackey, had joined private Twitter groups where participants reveled in using lies and deceit on behalf of Donald J. Trump, carrying out what one participant termed "the deep psyops of meme war."

Much of that activity was protected by the First Amendment, prosecutors said. But they argued that Mr. Mackey committed a crime days before the election when, using the name Ricky Vaughn, he posted images targeting Black and Latino voters that claimed it was possible to vote by text message. The idea, prosecutors said, was to suppress votes for Mrs. Clinton.

Mackey's post is above. At first glance, I thought that the vote suppression is secondary to signaling racism as part of the social media performance/grift/addiction loop, but that's why we have trials.

I'm always struck by how these guys never have their mugshots released unless you FOIA the damned things. But here he is in a low-quality social media posting the New York Daily News posted, without indicating the source.