The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

RICO, the Georgia anti-racketeering law used to charge Donald Trump

It’s a law traditionally used to indict mob bosses and gang leaders

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D). (David Walter Banks for The Washington Post)
6 min

Former president Donald Trump and 18 of his allies were charged in Georgia on Monday evening with a serious crime — racketeering — in connection with their efforts to overturn that state’s 2020 election results.

Here’s what that means and how such a law might be used:

The law is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

You’ll see it referred to as RICO. It allows prosecutors to combine several alleged crimes — in this case, conspiracy to defraud the state, false statements and writings, impersonating a public officer, forgery, computer theft and dozens of others — into one racketeering charge that calls for up to 20 years in prison.

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