A notorious far-right Twitter troll, whose influence on the 2016 election was bigger than many news networks and politicians, was charged on Wednesday with conspiring to disseminate misinformation designed to deprive people of their right to vote in the 2016 presidential election. Ricky Vaughn, whose real name is Douglass Mackey, got people to cast votes by text messages or social media posts—which are legally invalid ways to vote, federal prosecutors alleged Wednesday. In one instance, he tweeted a photo of an African-American woman encouraging people to vote by text for a particular candidate. Nearly 5,000 voters fell for the ruse, the Justice Department said.
HuffPost unmasked Ricky Vaughn in 2018 as a rich kid from Vermont whose father, Scott, is a lobbyist and former aide to the late Republican Sen. Jim Jeffords. He had been living on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and working as an economist at John Dunham & Associates but was fired in 2016. Mackey, 31, was taken into custody in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Wednesday.