The special grand jury in Georgia that investigated efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results in favor of loser Donald Trump has recommended indictments against 39 individuals, a number significantly higher than the 19 people ultimately charged by prosecutors. Among those recommended for indictment in the Georgia RICO case but who were not charged were South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia, and former Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn.
The report suggests that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis exercised discretion in streamlining the case, possibly due to factors like immunity deals, federal protections, or insufficient evidence. The grand jury accused the individuals of various offenses, including racketeering, conspiracy to defraud the state, false statements, perjury, and criminal solicitation to commit election fraud.
39 Georgia co-conspirators recommended for indictment
- Rudy Giuliani — Rudy Giuliani is an American attorney and politician, best known for serving as the Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001. He gained national prominence for his leadership during the 9/11 attacks. Later, he became a personal lawyer to Donald Trump and was involved in various legal challenges related to the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.
- John Eastman — John Eastman is a constitutional law scholar and attorney. He gained attention for advising former President Donald Trump on legal matters, particularly concerning the 2020 election. Eastman has been criticized for promoting theories that questioned the election’s integrity.
- Kenneth Chesebro — Kenneth Chesebro is a less-publicized figure, primarily known as a Harvard Law School lecturer. He specializes in legal writing and research, but has not been prominently involved in mainstream political or legal events.
- Donald Trump — Businessman and television personality. His presidency was marked by a polarized political climate, economic highs and lows, and two impeachments. He remains a highly influential figure in American politics.
- Cleta Mitchell — Cleta Mitchell is an American lawyer specializing in election law and campaign finance. She gained attention for representing Donald Trump in matters related to the 2020 presidential election and has been a vocal critic of its outcome.
- Jenna Ellis — Jenna Ellis is an American attorney and author. She served as a legal advisor to Donald Trump during his presidency and was involved in legal challenges concerning the 2020 election. Ellis is known for her conservative viewpoints.
- Mark Meadows — Mark Meadows is an American politician who served as the White House Chief of Staff under Donald Trump. Prior to that, he was a U.S. Representative from North Carolina. Meadows is a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus.
- David Shafer — David Shafer is a Republican politician from Georgia, serving as the Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. He has been involved in state politics for years and was a vocal supporter of Donald Trump during the 2020 election.
- Ray Smith III — Ray Smith is a Georgia-based attorney who gained attention for representing the Trump campaign in legal matters related to the 2020 election in Georgia. He specializes in civil litigation and business law. He is accused of making false claims of election fraud at legislative hearings in December 2020.
- Lin Wood — Lin Wood is an American attorney known for high-profile defamation cases. He became a controversial figure for his involvement in legal challenges related to the 2020 U.S. Presidential election and his promotion of conspiracy theories.
- Lindsey Graham — Lindsey Graham is a U.S. Senator from South Carolina, serving since 2003. A member of the Republican Party, Graham is known for his conservative stance on issues like national security and his close relationship with Donald Trump.
- Sidney Powell — Sidney Powell is an American attorney and author. She gained national attention for her involvement in legal challenges related to the 2020 presidential election, promoting theories that have been widely discredited.
- Robert Cheeley — Robert Cheeley is a Georgia-based attorney specializing in personal injury law. He gained attention for his association with Lin Wood in various legal matters but is not a mainstream political figure. He is accused of making false claims of election fraud at legislative hearings in December 2020.
- Mike Flynn — Michael Flynn is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General who briefly served as National Security Advisor under Donald Trump. He was convicted of lying to the FBI but was later pardoned by Trump.
- William Ligon — William Ligon is a Republican politician who serves as a State Senator in Georgia. He gained attention for his efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
- David Perdue — David Perdue is an American businessman and politician who served as a U.S. Senator from Georgia from 2015 to 2021. A member of the Republican Party, Perdue was a close ally of former President Donald Trump. He lost his re-election bid in the 2021 Georgia runoff to Democrat Jon Ossoff.
- Kelly Loeffler — Kelly Loeffler is an American businesswoman and politician who served as a U.S. Senator from Georgia. Appointed in 2019, she lost her seat to Democrat Raphael Warnock in the 2021 Georgia runoff. Loeffler is co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, a WNBA team.
- Cathy Latham — A previously lesser known figure in Georgia politics.
- Misty Hampton — A previously lesser known figure in Georgia politics.
- Scott Hall — A previously lesser known figure in Georgia politics.
- Boris Epshteyn — Boris Epshteyn is a Russian-American political strategist and commentator. He served as a special assistant to President Donald Trump and has been a vocal supporter of Trump’s policies.
- Jeffrey Clark — Jeff Clark is an American attorney who served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division under the Trump administration. He gained attention for his role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
- Kurt Hilbert — Kurt Hilbert is an American attorney based in Georgia. He gained attention for his involvement in legal challenges related to the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, particularly in Georgia.
- Stephen Lee — A previously lesser known figure in Georgia politics.
- Trevian Kutti — Trevian Kutti is a public relations consultant who has worked with high-profile clients, including politicians and celebrities. She is not a mainstream political figure but has some influence in the PR world.
- Harrison Floyd — Harrison Floyd is a military veteran and political activist. He has been involved in conservative political campaigns and organizations but is not a mainstream political figure.
- Alex Kaufman — Alex Kaufman is an American attorney based in Georgia. He specializes in election law and has been involved in various legal matters related to elections, although he is not a widely recognized public figure.
- Joseph Brannan — A previously lesser known figure in Georgia politics.
- Vikki Consiglio — Vikki Consiglio is a Georgia-based political activist and member of the Republican Party. She has been involved in local politics and grassroots organizing but is not a mainstream political figure.
- Carolyn Fisher — A previously lesser known figure in Georgia politics.
- Burt Jones — Burt Jones is an American businessman and politician serving as a Republican State Senator in Georgia. He has been in office since 2013 and is known for his conservative stances on issues like healthcare and education. Jones was a vocal supporter of Donald Trump and has been involved in efforts to challenge the 2020 election results in Georgia.
- Gloria Godwin — A previously lesser known figure in Georgia politics.
- Mark Hennessy — A previously lesser known figure in Georgia politics.
- Mark Amick — A previously lesser known figure in Georgia politics.
- John Downey — A previously lesser known figure in Georgia politics.
- Brad Carver — Brad Carver is an American attorney and political strategist based in Georgia. He is a partner at Hall Booth Smith, P.C., and specializes in governmental affairs. Carver has been involved in Republican politics and has served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.
- Shawn Still — A previously lesser known figure in Georgia politics.
- C. B. Yadav — C. B. Yadav is a businessman and community leader based in Georgia. While not a mainstream political figure, Yadav has been involved in local community initiatives and has received recognition for his philanthropic efforts.
- Jacki Pick — Jacki Pick is an American attorney and conservative commentator. She has appeared on various media platforms to discuss legal and political issues. Pick is known for her conservative viewpoints and has been a guest speaker at several conservative events.
What is RICO?
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a U.S. federal law enacted in 1970, designed to combat organized crime. Initially aimed at dismantling the Mafia, RICO has evolved to address a broad range of illegal activities carried out by enterprises, which can include businesses, gangs, and even political organizations. The law targets patterns of racketeering, which may involve activities like money laundering, drug trafficking, and fraud.
In the legal profession, RICO cases are approached with meticulous care due to their complexity. Prosecutors must prove four key elements: the existence of an “enterprise,” a pattern of racketeering activity, a connection between the enterprise and the criminal conduct, and the defendant’s participation in the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering. Establishing a “pattern” usually requires at least two acts of racketeering activity within a 10-year period.
Defense strategies often focus on dismantling one or more of these elements. For instance, they may argue that the alleged activities do not constitute a “pattern” or that the defendant was not sufficiently involved in the enterprise. Given the severe penalties, which can include hefty fines and up to 20 years in prison per racketeering count, both sides often rely on extensive documentation, expert testimonies, and intricate legal arguments.
Trials are usually long-drawn affairs, involving multiple parties and numerous charges. The prosecution may use tools like wiretaps, surveillance, and informants to build their case, while the defense may scrutinize the validity and legality of such evidence. Due to the high stakes, RICO cases are typically handled by attorneys with specialized expertise in this area of law.
TL;DR: RICO is a powerful tool for prosecuting organized criminal activities, but its cases are complex and require a nuanced legal approach.