What is RICO and could Trump be charged with it in Georgia?

It will be revealed next week whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will seek indictments against former President Donald Trump and his allies in their efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. Willis is widely expected to bring state racketeering, or RICO charges against the former president and others in his circle.

Trial lawyer Tom Church says Georgia’s racketeering statute lets prosecutors do things they normally can’t.

"The RICO statute in Georgia is a prosecutor’s best friend," Church said. "RICO is used when you have a group of people working toward a criminal purpose. It’s got a longer statute of limitations. It has more increased penalties with a mandatory minimum of five years in prison. It lets you get hearsay evidence that you normally wouldn’t be able to get into." 

But RICO cases also present unique challenges. 

"A Trump prosecution in Fulton County would present a lot of obstacles some of the same obstacle you see in the Young Slime Life trial. But also different obstacle," Church said.

Willis is already embroiled in another RICO case, the Young Thug YSL trial. That one has lasted since January and not one juror has been seated.


"Not only are dealing with a big, sprawling case, you have the political component," Church said of a potential indictment against the former president. "Jury selection is going to last a long time and be very difficult."

Darryl Cohen, a former Fulton County assistant district attorney, says a potential trial against the former president would be complicated.


"This will be a big, unwieldy case," Cohen said. "We could be looking at a year or two to even select a jury." 

The DA could charge numerous defendants. That could create numerous complications as it has in the YSL trial.

"We’ve got so many lawyers. Each lawyer has his or her client to protect and there are obviously differences between the defenses and the various people who are going to be charged, if they’re charged," Cohen said.

Trying a former president on allegations of criminally attempting to overturn his loss in the 2020 election is anything but conventional. 

"We’ve never seen anything like this happen before," Cohen said.

Cohen says the former president himself could complicate a potential Georgia trial since the former president often talks about matters that normally stay behind court-room doors