The Washington Examiner reports: “A grand jury in Georgia indicted Donald Trump on Monday on racketeering charges related to the 2020 election, marking the fifth indictment across four criminal cases this year against the former president and current 2024 GOP front-runner.
“Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis brought the charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against Trump and 18 others, according to the 98-page indictment.”
What should we make of the indictment?
Reporters rarely note in their reports 1) that a Grand Jury is not a trial jury, 2) that the RICO Act should never be used in political cases, 3) that a Grand Jury indictment is not a finding of guilt or innocence, and 4) that the quantity of indictments – 91 counts brought against Trump across four separate court cases, so far -- have little to do with the justice or validity of the indictments.
Most of these important points lie like evanescent half buried corpses in news reports.
Grand Juries are Star Chamber proceedings in which the defense is not permitted to defend the invisible accused before jurors. Grand Juries hear evidence presented only by the prosecution. The sole purpose of a Grand Jury is to weigh the prosecutorial presentation – no defense evidence is permitted – with a view towards determining whether a prosecution indictment should be returned, either favoring prosecution or not. After being suitably pushed by prosecutors, it is very rare for a Grand Jury to determine that the case presented to them should not go to trial.
Reporters also should note that the architect of RICO insisted many times that the RICO Act should never, ever be used in political cases. Initially, RICO was intended to facilitate the prosecution of drug bosses, Murder Incorporated mobsters and racist members of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK).
One other point is worth mentioning by way of background: You cannot transfer from a political theater to a judicial theater matters that ought properly to be addressed politically without politicizing and therefore corrupting the judiciary. The judiciary was intended by the founders to be above politics, a transcendence that assures no one prosecuted in the United States should be above or below the law.
The deal arranged between prosecutors and defense attorneys in the recent attempted prosecution of Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, was thrown into disarray when U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika in Delaware realized that she was being called upon to decide a question that a presiding judge could not decide: Did the deal, very favorable to Hunter Biden, preclude the prosecution of possible criminal activity not before the court? Apparently flummoxed, neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys appeared to know. As a result of her misgivings, the deal broke down and both the prosecution and the defense retreated to their separate corners. Prosecutors later shelved the deal, and defense attorneys prepared to sue the prosecutors in order to reinstate a deal that would effectively shield Hunter Biden from future prosecutions.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was asked on The Balance by Newsmax host Eric Boling “…why the hell is Fani Willis trying to charge you with racketeering?” Bolling noted that Giuliani, early in his career, had deployed RICO act successfully against “Fat Tony Salerno from the Genovese crime family; Tony Ducks, Lucchese family; Carmine ‘Junior’ Persico, Colombos; Paul Castellano, the boss of the powerful Gambinos.”
Giuliani answered, ““Because she’s a politician and not a lawyer. Not an honest, honorable lawyer… This is a ridiculous application of the racketeering statute. There’s probably no one that knows it better than I do. Probably some that know it as well. I was the first one to use it in white-collar cases, but in major cases like the Boesky case and the Milken case. This is not meant for election disputes. I mean, this is ridiculous what she’s doing. Also, I don’t know if she realizes it because she seems like a pretty incompetent, sloppy prosecutor. I mean what she did yesterday with that indictment is inexcusable. If she worked for me, I would’ve fired her.”
Some of the anti-Trump prosecutions would be better deployed as op-eds in the legacy media, which appear to be little concerned with future misapplications of the RICO act.
What federal politicians, other than Trump, should be prosecuted in state courts under the act?
Some sourpuss Republicans are now suggesting that the unorthodox prosecutorial protocol, once established after Trump is found guilty under RICO, might usefully be deployed against former Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who both destroyed public records illegally kept on a private server – with a hammer and bleach bit cleaner, no less -- and challenged the nomination to the presidency of Trump, in addition to confecting, along with other prominent Democrat politicians and “crossfire hurricane” associates, a fraudulent FISA court document used to indict in the House of Representatives a sitting president in an impeachment proceeding.