This Will Only Make the RICO Case More Difficult for Fulton County

Stuart Miles /
Stuart Miles /

As you know, a RICO case is about to be tried in Fulton County, Georgia. But the possibility of it sticking is looking dimmer by the day.

Of particular note is that a Fulton County judge isn’t very optimistic about the whole thing, according to a recent ruling.

Former President Donald Trump, as you know, has recently been indicted, along with 18 others, for challenging the results of the 2020 election in The Peach State. The hope for the prosecution, namely, Fulton County’s District Attorney Fani Willis, is that she can tie all 19 individuals, including Trump, into one massive Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act case – as if Trump and these others were part of organized crime or something.

But as Judge Scott McAfee noted on Wednesday, that may be quite difficult to accomplish.

When he ruled on Wednesday, he said that, much to Willis’delight, two of the 18 others, both former president lawyers, Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, would be attending trial together on October 23, according to The New York Times.

Now, to be clear, the ruling itself doesn’t exactly change anything for Willis’ case. And it goes against what all parties being indicted wanted: separate trials.

However, there is quite a major contingency that this whole being tried together thing rests upon. And that is that everything about the case remains in state court and not a federal one. If just one defendant has their case moved to a federal courtroom for any reason, the whole RICO case goes out the window.

That same RICO case would look considerably weaker should any of them be tried separately. After all, a RICO case, by definition, means that the individuals involved were working together to achieve a single criminal conspiracy. Suddenly,having those individuals broken up in separate instances would effectively undermine the whole thing.

As I said, as of now, Powell and Chesebro are being tried together, and Willis hopes that judges will continue to agree to let all 19 defendants be tried together. So, at the moment, everything is working as planned.

But as Judge McAfee noted, it wouldn’t take much for all of that to change.

As The Times reported, the judge said during the hearing that he is “‘ very skeptical’ that a single trial for all 19 defendants could work.”

One reason is that while Powell and Chesebro have invoked their right to a speedy trial, not all others, including Trump, have not. And that means their trials may not occur within the same time frame, meaning separate trials.

Another reason is that the defendants’ alleged crimes don’t necessarily tie together well.

Chesebro, for instance, has been charged for supposedly creating alternate elector slates in states such as Georgia. On the other hand, Powell has been accused of what prosecutors call a “data breach” at the election office in Georgia’s Coffee County.

Both of their lawyers say that those crimes, if indeed did occur, could have happened without knowledge of the other. The two did not have to work in tandem or as a part of a group to get the job done. And both lawyers say the others’ crime could take precedence, meaning their client could be stuck in a months-long trial for something they know nothing about.

Of course, Willis’ office maintains that it is all connected.

But as McAfee pointed out, to make sure that it all gets presented as one big connected thing, everything, and I mean, everything has to go exactly as planned, fitting far too many moving pieces together at once.

And that will be a feat he’s “skeptical” can be achieved, even if the defendants are guilty or not, which is a whole other matter.

It might be time for Fani Willis to begin looking for work elsewhere…