BY – Blessing Jonathan
Former US President, Donald Trump, has been indicted and charged by the Georgia Court on the count of racketeering and election crime, in a bid to overthrow Joe Biden, winner of the 2020 US presidential election and his closest opponent.
Fani Willis from Fulton County, Prosecutor in charge of the case, had told reporters that Trump has until August 25 to voluntarily surrender himself to authorities or would be forcefully arrested as provided by the “RICO law.”
NB: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law enables prosecutors to target people in positions of authority within a criminal organization.
According to the District Attorney, the released phone call recording between Donald Trump and Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, overheard Trump suggesting to the top election offficial to help him “find the votes needed to overturn his narrow loss to his Democrat opponent, Joe Biden.”
Further investigations by the prosecutor which lasted for over two years, revealed that beyond the phone call, there are tons of crimes committed by the former President and his accomplices in authority.
The Georgia case is one of the three major indictments faced by the 77-year old Republican. The other trials are in New York, Washington, DC, and Florida.
Meanwhile, Trump’s legal representatives said to the press; “We look forward to a detailed review of this indictment which is undoubtedly just as flawed and unconstitutional as this entire process has been”.
The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (RICO) Act originated in 1970 as a tool to fight organized crime and prosecute not just lower-level people doing the dirty work, but also people in authority, although, its use was never meant to be limited exclusively to organised crime.
Within a few years of the federal law taking effect, states began passing their own RICO laws.
The US Supreme Court noted in a 1989 opinion that the law was drafted “broadly enough to encompass a wide range of criminal activity, taking many different forms and likely to attract a broad array of perpetrators”.
‘Generally speaking, RICO law allow prosecutors to charge multiple people who commit separate crimes while working towards a common goal.
‘Georgia’s RICO Act, adopted in 1980, makes it a crime to participate in, acquire or maintain control of an “enterprise” through a “pattern of racketeering activity” or to conspire to do so.
‘It’s important to note that the alleged scheme does not have to have been successful for a RICO charge to stick.
‘An “enterprise” can be a single person or a group of associated individuals with a common goal.
‘Racketeering activity means to commit, attempt to commit – or to solicit, coerce or intimidate someone else to commit – one of more than three dozen state crimes listed in the law.
‘At least two such acts are required to meet the standard of a “pattern of racketeering activity,” meaning prosecutors have to prove that a person has engaged in two or more related criminal acts as part of their participation in an enterprise to be convicted under RICO.’
Although the US Supreme Court has said that federal RICO allegations must show continuity, that is to say, a series of related underlying acts over an extended period, not just a few weeks or months, but the Georgia Supreme Court has made clear there is no such requirement in the state law.
Willis had said she is a fan of RICO law and had used RICO indictment against more than two dozen alleged gang members.