Former President Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants have been accused of a number of criminal acts in an attempt to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election. 

However, the allegation under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) connects their alleged wrongdoings.

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What is RICO?

The federal statute’s state counterpart, commonly referred to as RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), is similar to the state law and targets criminal enterprises. This statute allows prosecutors in Georgia to include a variety of conduct, even those that take place outside the state but contribute to a larger conspiracy, in their indictments.

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The RICO Act of Georgia, passed in 1980, makes participation in, control of, or maintenance of an “enterprise” through a recurrent pattern of illegal action, as well as planning to do so, a crime. Notably, a RICO accusation need not result from the claimed plot being carried out successfully.

An “enterprise” might be a single person or a group of related people working together to achieve a common goal. A “racketeering activity” is defined as committing, attempting to commit, or encouraging another person to conduct any of the more than thirty state offenses that are specified. Prosecutors must prove a person’s involvement in at least two connected crimes as part of their role in an enterprise in order to prove a person committed a “pattern of racketeering activity,” which is a requirement for a RICO conviction.

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The investigation of Donald Trump was started by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis when a recording of a phone call between Trump and Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, from January 2021 was made public.

Willis filed charges against Trump and 18 allies under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, alleging their participation in a massive plot to rig the state’s 2020 election.