The ongoing case against Donald Trump in Georgia has been making headlines ever since the rumors of the investigation first surfaced in 2021. Being charged with election interference was only the beginning of Trump’s interactions with Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis, and their relationship has only grown more contentious over the months since he was finally charged in Georgia.

Various Charges Across the Country

Trump is facing myriad charges across different states for his alleged role in trying to overturn the 2020 election, among other things. In New York, Trump is being charged with tax evasion and business mishandling, as well as being charged with paying Stormy Daniels hush money during their affair prior to his presidency.

Source: Youtube/CSPAN

The federal case in the Washington D.C. court system has been making the most headlines, as many see that particular case as the most serious of the crimes that Trump has been charged with. The case against Trump in Georgia is equally serious, though, and has seen some startling revelations recently.

The Georgia Case is Unique

The charges against Trump in Georgia were brought against him in August of 2023, and they feature a unique charge compared to the other cases that have been brought against the former president.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Along with 18 other defendants, Trump was charged with 13 felonies in relation to his alleged efforts to undo his election loss in Georgia during the 2020 election season. While a former president being charged with a grand total of more than 90 felonies including those in this case is noteworthy, it is not the nature of the crimes that he is being charged with that is stunning. It’s the scope.

A RICO Felony

Trump was charged in Georgia under the state RICO act. This stands for Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act, and it is a crime that allows prosecutors to link various crimes committed by different people together in one charge.

Source: Salon

RICO is a serious crime for two reasons. One, it is notoriously difficult to get a grand jury to agree to a RICO charge, given the burden of proof that is required on the part of the prosecution in order to prove conspiracy. And two, it allows for multiple people to be swept up in the court system for the same crime, but arguing that the various crimes that different people engaged in were in pursuit of a common criminal goal.

Nixon Signed RICO into Law

RICO charges are relatively new, in the scope of the United States legal system. The RICO act wasn’t formally codified in United States law until 1970, where it was signed into law by President Richard Nixon.

Source: Associated Press, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The law was used in the 70’s to charge members of the Mafia with more serious crimes than they were personally responsible for. Prior to the implementation of the RICO act, many serious Mafia crimes went uncharged or were dismissed due to a lack of evidence, or smaller mafia members would be charged while the big fish of the organization got away. RICO charges changed this.

Largely for Crime Families, but Not Exclusively

The variety of defendants who have been charged with RICO is vast. Some notable cases that have made headlines over the years include the Gambino crime family, the Gonnano crime family, the Gambino crime family again, and the Chicago outfit (also known as the Chicago mafia).

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As far as Donald Trump, 2023 is not the first time that he has been charged under a RICO statute. In 2013, a civil RICO class action suit was brought against Donald Trump, accusing him of misrepresenting Trump University, but ultimately providing neither the value of his time or a university itself. The case was ultimately settled out of court without admission of wrongdoing from Trump.

Trump and the Other Defendants

The current RICO case in Georgia targets Trump and 18 co-defendants, accusing them of a grand scheme to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. Rudy Guiliani, the former Mayor of New York and the man who prosecuted John Gotti, is one of the defendants in the Georgia RICO case.

Source: Reuters

The Georgia case is extensive, and cites various factors as the reasoning behind the RICO charges. As mentioned, RICO is a challenging case to prove ahead of a grand jury, and Fani Willis and her prosecution team did their homework to ensure that Trump would not wiggle out of these charges the way he has so many in the past.

Multiple Charges of Varying Scope

The various angles of the charges are wide in scope. Some of the individual counts stem from false claims of election fraud that Guiliani and several other lawyers made at legislative hearings in December of 2020.

Source: Youtube/CBC News

Other charges concern the so-called fake elector scheme. Georgia was not the only state with a supposed scheme to send false electors to the capitol to vote for Donald Trump in contradiction to the final results of their state, but Fani Willis is taking no prisoners in this case.

Fani Willis does not Mess Around

Fani Willis is the first Black woman to lead Georgia’s Fulton County district office, and in her 19 years as a prosecutor, has led more than 100 jury trials and managed hundreds of murder cases. Willis is no stranger to either criminals or threats, and it is clear anytime that she speaks in a courtroom or to the press.

Source: Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage

Since Willis has come to power as chief prosecutor of the Fulton County office, the office’s conviction rate has stood close to 90%. This is a stunning statistic, which only proves that Willis chooses the cases that she prosecutes carefully, and only takes the ones that she believes that can be won.

First, Try to Divert

Trump’s tactics in the Georgia case so far have been to bombastically claim that Fani Willis is treating him unfairly on his social media platform, Truth Social. Additionally, every mention of the Georgia election fraud case accuses the prosecutors of being corrupt and engaging in 2024 election interference on behalf of Joe Biden.

Source: TruthSocial/realDonaldTrump

There is no evidence to any of these claims, of course. The outbursts follow a standard tactic of delay, deny, and distract that Trump has used successfully in the past, but it appears that this time the attempts are not working. New information that has just come to light regarding Fani Willis may put the case in jeopardy, though.

Then, Try to Discredit

One of Trump’s co-defendants in the Georgia RICO case, Michael Roman. Roman is a former campaign official for the Trump campaign, and has been charged with seven felony counts in Georgia, alleging his participation in the Georgia false elector’s scheme.

Source: Twitter/AP

Roman and his team recently filed a motion in the Georgia courts, accusing Fani Willis of hiring a romantic partner to work on the Donald Trump election subversion case. Roman’s motion asks for the charges against him to be dismissed, and for Willis and members of the staff to be dismissed from the case.

No Proof of Any Wrongdoing

According to the filing, a man named Nathan Wade was hired on as a special prosecutor for Fulton County, and allegedly took vacations with Fani Willis using money that he was paid for working on the Trump election subversion case.

Source: The New York Times/Kenny Holston

The motion makes extensive claims, including stating that Willis and Wade went on a Caribbean cruise together, but provides no evidence to support the accusations. Willis and her office have yet to respond formally or publicly to the accusations, but the damage could have already been done.

The Motion is in the Courts

The motion is currently in the works of being filed, heard, and responded to appropriately in the court system, which is imperative for maintaining the integrity of Fani Willis’ case against Trump. However, the accusation itself may have provided a significant boost for Trump in his election subversion case, whether the accusation turns out true or not.

Source: USA Today

Georgia governor Brian Kemp, who has had his own share of run-ins with Trump and his legal team regarding the 2020 election, has already released a statement regarding the accusations. He stated that the accusations were “deeply troubling” and that they would be investigated as thoroughly as necessary.

A Massive Turnaround for Kemp

Up to this point, Kemp has stood behind Fani Willis and even gone so far as to denounce efforts to have Fani Willis investigated for her case against Trump, or removed from the case altogether.

Source: Flickr/Georgia National Guard

Kemp standing behind the accusations against Fani Willis is a drastic turn from his previous attitude regarding both Willis, her office, and the charges against Trump altogether. He is only one of a handful of Republicans who have publicly denounced Willis after the accusations came to light, but he is an important figure.

McAfee Wants to Move Swiftly

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee released a statement in the wake of the accusations, explaining that he was waiting for a formal response from the district attorney’s office before taking steps to set a court date to investigate the claims.

Source: Reuters

This is a stunning development in the case that has the entire country watching, and Kemp’s turnaround makes the events even more dramatic. Kemp and Trump have been locked in a ongoing feud ever since Kemp refused Trump’s request to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia for him. Despite this, Kemp has recently signaled that he would support Trump for president should he get the 2024 nomination.

Willis Speaking to her Church

Though Fani Willis has yet to make a formal statement regarding the accusations under the authority of her office, she has pushed back against the accusations on a personal level. While attending church this week, Willis stepped in front of her congregation and spoke.

Source: Associated Press/KATE BRUMBACK

There, she thanked the congregants and church leaders who allowed her to speak, regardless of what was said about her. She then went on to explain that she had been feeling low about herself and the situation, and that only her relationship with God was helping her.

Willis Implied the Charges are Racist

Willis then pushed back against those who were accusing her of improper conduct regarding this case. Without naming him, she stated that Wade was a great friend and a great lawyer, and that she had hired three special prosecutors for the case, not just Wade.

Source: MSNBC

Willis pointed out that of the three special prosecutors that she and her office hired for the case, Wade was the only Black man who was hired, and the other prosecutors weren’t seeing the same scrutiny for their conduct as he was. Willis was firm in the implied racism of the lawsuit, and seemed ready to fight back when she finally stepped off the pulpit.

The Tide of Public Opinion is Fickle

As many of us know, in law it isn’t always the final results of a court case that linger in the minds of onlookers. Though he was acquitted, it’s a common belief that OJ Simpson killed his wife in the 90’s, and the same for Casey Anthony with her case in the 2000’s.

Source: Youtube/CBC News

In this way, the accusation against Fani Willis may have permanently damaged public opinion regarding this trial. Whether Trump is found guilty or not, and whether the accusations against Willis are dismissed or not, there will always be some people wondering if she only went after Trump to avenge a vendetta.