What is RICO, the law at the center of Trump’s Georgia criminal case?

Former President Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants have been accused of breaking a variety of criminal laws in the Georgia 2020 election subversion case, but one crime ties all their alleged misconduct together: the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

The state law — which is commonly referred to as RICO — is similar to the federal version of the statute that targets so-called criminal enterprises. Georgia’s law allows prosecutors to pull an array of conduct – including activities that took place outside of the state of Georgia but may have been part of a broad conspiracy — into their indictments.

Those convicted of racketeering charges also face steeper penalties, a point of leverage for prosecutors if they are hoping to flip potential co-conspirators or encourage defendants to take plea deals.

For Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the law has been her calling card. The Atlanta-area prosecutor has used it in a number of high-profile cases she’s previously brought in Georgia against school officials, gangs and musicians, including the rapper Young Thug.

What's being accused in this case: The historic 41-count indictment accuses Trump and the other defendants of being part of a broad conspiracy to attempt to overturn the 2020 election result in Georgia.

“The enterprise constituted an ongoing organization whose members and associates functioned as a continuing unit for a common purpose of achieving the objectives of the enterprise,” the 98-page indictment states.

“The enterprise operated in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, in other states, including, but not limited to, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and in the District of Columbia,” the indictment adds.

Prosecutors say the criminal actions the charge is built around include: making false statements, filing false documents and forgeries, impersonating officials, computer breaches and attempts to influence witnesses.

Several of the acts alleged to have made up the racketeering conspiracy involved states other than Georgia. White and other legal experts stressed that Willis’ use of RICO against Trump and his co-defendants will allow prosecutors to easily tie alleged conduct into their case

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.