Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ indictment of former President Donald Trump for his actions after the 2020 election is a significant legal move, akin to using a nuclear bomb where a simpler approach would suffice.
Her use of a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) charge is an expansive attempt to target Trump, employing any available means to achieve her goal.
According to Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., the RICO charge is a central aspect of the indictment. Buck, a former federal and state prosecutor, noted that while the federal indictment for election subversion could have also taken a RICO approach, it seems more appropriate that it didn’t.
The RICO statute was designed to address organized crime and international drug networks, not election disputes. Trump is now facing 13 counts as part of a 98-page indictment.
Alongside him are his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former attorneys Rudolph Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, and several others, all facing various charges.
Buck argues that proving Trump’s criminal intent will be challenging. Unlike a previous case involving classified documents, where Trump openly admitted to retaining documents he hadn’t declassified, his mental state regarding the election outcome is less straightforward.
People around him held conflicting beliefs about the election results, making it difficult to demonstrate his intent. Critics point out that some of the actions criminalized in this indictment mirror what Democrats themselves engaged in during past elections, such as in 2000, 2004, and 2016.
Former Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz highlights that the Gore campaign in 2000 employed similar strategies before the Bush v. Gore lawsuit.
Dershowitz suggests that these indictments are part of a strategy to ensnare Trump before the 2024 election, ultimately favoring a Biden victory.
He predicts that there could be convictions obtained quickly in different jurisdictions, with the intent to secure convictions even if they may not stand on appeal.
Despite these legal challenges, Trump continues to enjoy strong support from Republicans, with 63% expressing a desire for him to be their nominee according to a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
However, Trump’s general electability raises concerns, as 53% of Americans indicate they wouldn’t vote for him if he becomes the Republican nominee.