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Fani Willis, the district attorney for Fulton County, has charged Donald Trump and his eighteen co-defendants under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a federal and state law that has been instrumental in creating accountability for corrupt networks and criminal enterprises. When a RICO case is filed, it allows for criminal or civil liability for an entire corrupt organization involved in violating the law. The law has been used to bring lawsuits and criminal charges against a host of bad actors, including mob members, gangs, corrupt police officers, and, in certain instances, politicians. 

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To be found guilty of a criminal RICO claim, a person must have committed 2 instances of “predicate” or preceding offenses within the last few years. There are many preceding offenses, which include:

  • wire or mail fraud, 

  • bribery, 

  • kidnapping, 

  • drug dealing, 

  • murder, and 

  • arson. 

The person accused of criminally violating RICO must also be affiliated with a larger enterprise or group, and their preceding offenses must relate to that enterprise in pre-defined, pre-established ways. 


If someone has been indicted under RICO, it is possible for the prosecutor to seek an order from the court that seizes their assets and prevents them from transferring property. This ensures that financial recovery will be possible if a person is found criminally liable for the charges against them.   


Someone convicted of criminally violating RICO can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and may face significant financial penalties as well. As with all crimes, a person will not be convicted of such a charge until a jury of their peers hears the evidence against them and finds that the evidence supports the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

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