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Trump supporter convicted of election interference after 2016 plot to trick Hilary Clinton voters
A social media influencer was convicted Friday in connection with a plot to undermine Hilary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, the Department of Justice said.
Douglass Mackey, also known as “Ricky Vaughn,” was convicted of conspiracy against rights for a “scheme to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote,” the agency said.
Mackey faces up to 10 years in prison.
“Mackey has been found guilty by a jury of his peers of attempting to deprive individuals from exercising their sacred right to vote for the candidate of their choice in the 2016 Presidential Election,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a news release.
“Today’s verdict proves that the defendant’s fraudulent actions crossed a line into criminality and flatly rejects his cynical attempt to use the constitutional right of free speech as a shield for his scheme to subvert the ballot box and suppress the vote.”
Mackey amassed some 58,000 Twitter followers and was ranked as the 107th most important influencer ahead of the presidential election in February, 2016, by the MIT Media Lab.
Prosecutors alleged that Mackey in the months leading up to the 2016 election conspired with other influential Twitter users, among others, to spread disinformation encouraging Clinton supporters to cast invalid votes via text message or social media, the DOJ said.
In the days leading up to the election, Mackey sent tweets suggesting the importance of limiting “black turnout,” tweeting an image depicting an African American woman standing in front of an “African Americans for Hillary” sign.
The ad stated: “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home,” “Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925,” and “Vote for Hillary and be a part of history.”
The fine print at the bottom of the deceptive 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 Hillary For President 2016.”
The tweet included the “#ImWithHer” hashtag.
At least 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted “Hillary” or some variant of the 59925 text number, which had been used in multiple deceptive campaign images tweeted by Mackey and his co-conspirators.
Audio tape of Trump is devastating for his case — and supports Michael Cohen: former prosecutor
Now that former President Donald Trump is being charged in New York in connection to a $130,000 hush payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, much of the case will rest on testimony from Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen — and Trump's defense will likely try to discredit him, arguing he's unreliable because he served time for lying to Congress.
But one cold, hard piece of evidence could still back Cohen up, argued former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann on MSNBC Friday: a tape recording of Trump talking to Cohen about the payments, during which Trump suggested they "pay with cash."
"I mean, I watched enough mob movies to know that innocent people don't say, quote, 'pay with cash,'" said anchor Nicolle Wallace. "What are we entering into if this goes to trial, as Trump said he plans for it to?"
"This is one where, obviously, Michael Cohen is a difficult witness," said Weissmann. "He is not your ideal government witness for a host of reasons, including the fact he's still talking, and that differentiates him from anybody I've ever dealt with as a cooperating witness. That being said, these are really experienced state prosecutors. They've been in this territory, this is their bread and butter doing these kinds of cases. This particular case, not that complicated."
"So this case is going to be — I think it was mentioned, it's really going to be made on documents, and that tape recording is one where there are a number of ways that it could be used," said Weissmann. "Not just for the fact that you have Trump on tape saying pay in cash if it was legit, you would be like, I'll wire the money or send a check. It makes no sense. The fact that Michael Cohen was taping it shows that Michael Cohen is not going to tape record it as somebody who is going to say, what are you talking about? I don't know anything about this, what are you doing? That's not what you hear. What you hear is, wait a second, pay in cash. The very fact of the tape recording is something that the D.A.'s office knows to use very well to corroborate Michael Cohen."
"And then just one small caveat, which is that Donald Trump has not had his day in court in a criminal case, so it's true that there has been no refutation by Donald Trump," Weissmann added. "We have a lot of adjectives, we have a lot of adverbs, we have a lot of epithets about the D.A. and the case, but that's not an argument. That is not a fact. That is not any legal argument that's been made. But he will have a place where he can do that ... and I do think one of the things the media gets wrong is to just cover adjectives and adverbs as if it's anything. It's literally nothing more than the paper it's printed on."
Andrew Weissmann says Michael Cohen tape is damning for Trump www.youtube.com
‘Most honest and honorable man anywhere in the world’: Trump praises himself in latest online rant
Donald Trump took to social media Friday to again proclaim his innocence.
The former president was indicted Thursday by a Manhattan grand jury on more than 30 counts over alleged hush money payments to former adult film star Stormy Daniels. His first court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.
“THEY’VE GOT NOTHING,” Trump wrote in an all-caps post on his Truth Social website Friday evening.
Trump said that authorities have reviewed 11 million pages of documents, tax returns and financial records, some of which he alleges were obtained by investigators illegally.
"AFTER 8 YEARS OF VARIOUS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED INVESTIGATIONS, HOAXES, SCAMS, AND WITCH HUNTS, THIS MUST MAKE ME THE MOST HONEST AND HONORABLE MAN ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD," he wrote. "NOBODY IN HISTORY HAS EVER BEEN THROUGH THE SCRUTINY THAT I HAVE. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!"