Categories
Corruption Crime Donald Trump Elections

Special Grand Jury May Be Impaneled To Investigate Trump For Racketeering

While grand juries meeting in New York have drawn most of the attention of the national media, a move on the horizon in the state of Georgia could wind up presenting the greatest legal threat to failed, one-term former President Donald Trump, according to the New York Times.

The Times reports that Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis is on the verge of impaneling a special grand jury to investigate Trump on charges of racketeering for his attempts to have the results of the 2020 election in the Peach State overturned:

A special grand jury, which by Georgia statute would include 16 to 23 members, could focus solely on the potential case against Mr. Trump and his allies. Ms. Willis is likely to soon take the step, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deliberations, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the decision is not final. Though such a jury could issue subpoenas, Ms. Willis would need to return to a regular grand jury to seek criminal indictments.

A recording of Trump’s phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (in which Trump asked Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes”) is one of the most compelling pieces of evidence against the former president and proves that Trump’s intent was to ignore the will of Georgia voters so that he could be declared the victor, setting up a pattern that could then be repeated in other states such as Arizona and Pennsylvania, which also went for President Joe Biden.

Willis has already said that she may well prosecute Trump for racketeering:

Ms. Willis has said a racketeering charge is on the table. Such cases are often associated with prosecutions of mob bosses, using the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO, and Georgia has its own state version of the law.

“I always tell people when they hear the word racketeering, they think of ‘The Godfather,’” Ms. Willis said earlier this year, explaining that the concept could also extend to otherwise lawful organizations that are used to break the law. “If you have various overt acts for an illegal purpose, I think you can — you may — get there.”

One of her best-known prosecutions came in 2014 when, as an assistant district attorney, she helped lead a racketeering case against a group of educators involved in a cheating scandal in the Atlanta public schools.

Since there is physical evidence in the form of tapes and recordings of Trump and others inside the administration and his inner circle, Willis would appear to have a slam-dunk case against the former president, who has already admitted his voice is indeed on the recording with Georgia’s secretary of state. Other efforts made by the ex-president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, also point to a larger conspiracy which strengthens Willis’ hand if she goes after Trump on racketeering charges. Such charges also carry enhanced sentences for those convicted under the statute.

For now, Manhattan will continue to explore Trump’s business and finances, but in the end it may well be a black woman in Atlanta who winds up bringing down the nefarious Mr. Trump. How’s that for irony?

 

Categories
Corruption Crime Donald Trump

Manhattan DA May Also File State Racketeering Charges Against The Trump Organization

Now that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has indicted the Trump Organization and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, it’s clearer than ever that the justice system is starting to catch up with Donald Trump and those associated with him.

And now there’s a new twist to the case against Trump, with legal experts saying that Vance’s office may be planning to file state racketeering charges against the Trump Organization, which would give them more leverage over potential witnesses and also lead to greater penalties for those who are convicted, Politico reports:

“Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance could be considering a criminal charge that former President Donald Trump’s business empire was a corrupt enterprise under a New York law resembling the federal racketeering statute known as RICO, former prosecutors and defense attorneys said.

New York’s enterprise corruption statute — which carries the potential for severe penalties — can be applied to money-making businesses alleged to have repeatedly engaged in criminal activity as a way to boost their bottom line.”

New York’s organized corruption statute, which is often referred to as “little RICO,” can be used if there are as few as three crimes involving a business located in the Empire State and carries a prison term of up to 25 years, which would be a death sentence for Donald Trump, who turns 75 next month.

Manhattan defense attorney Robert Anello said he’s certain Vance is considering bringing charges under the New York RICO law:

“I’m sure they’re thinking about that. No self-respecting state white-collar prosecutor would forgo considering the enterprise corruption charge.”

Anello’s comments were echoed by Michael Shapiro, who used to prosecute corruption cases in New York:

“It’s a very serious crime. Certainly, there are plenty of things an organization or business could do to run afoul of enterprise corruption, if they’re all done with the purpose of enhancing the revenue of the enterprise illegally. … It’s an umbrella everything else fits under.”

The crimes the former president’s company is suspected of having committed include submitting inflated real estate valuations to banks and insurance companies while reporting those same properties as undervalued when it came time to pay taxes. There have also been rumors that Trump may have used his corporation to launder ill-gotten funds from organized crime outfits in the United States and Russia.

Also under investigation by the Manhattan DA’s office are the hush money payments made during the 2016 campaign to two women who had sexual encounters with Trump and were paid in order to remain silent. Those payoffs, according to legal experts, may well violate New York laws against making false statements as part of a company’s business records.

As for the newly formed grand jury, attorneys say it is almost certain to go along with whatever charges Vance is seeking against Trump and his company, with Shapiro noting:

“The prosecutors work together with the grand jury, day to day. … The natural thing that happens is everyone gets the idea we’re all on the same team. Ultimately, the grand jury will do what the prosecutors asks them to do. … If at the end of a number of months, this grand jury is asked to bring charges against Trump and others, they’ll do it — 999 times out of 1,000 they do it.”

In other words, the likelihood that Trump and others in his orbit are going to be indicted is all but certain.

 

Categories
Crime Donald Trump Elections

Trump’s Legal Exposure Increases: Multiple Grand Juries Are Now Investigating Him In Georgia

Failed, one-term former President Donald Trump probably didn’t think it was possible for his legal problems to get any worse, but he was wrong, as there are now two grand juries in Georgia investigating him for trying to pressure election officials in the Peach State to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential race.

The Daily Beast reports that Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis expects those grand juries to start handing down subpoenas for relevant documents “in the very near future”:

“In interviews with Willis, her staff, five former members of the team, and several people who interacted with them, The Daily Beast has learned there are now two grand juries underway in Fulton County, and jurors in these secret proceedings will soon be asked to issue subpoenas demanding documents and recordings related to the Trump investigation.

“‘I suspect that’s in the very near future,’ Willis told The Daily Beast.”

Willis and the grand juries are taking a close look at a phone call Trump made on January 2 of last year to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he pressured the election chief to “find 11,780 votes” so it would look like he had won the state instead of President Joe Biden, who became the first Democrat since Bill Clinton in 1992 to garner the state’s 16 Electoral College votes. In a very real sense, the results from Georgia sealed Trump’s fate and made it clear he had lost support even in the Deep South, where he was thought to be invulnerable.

As a result of that infamous call, Trump is facing the possibility of being charged with racketeering in Georgia, where the penalty for that crime carries a prison term of 20 years.

How serious is Willis about sending Trump to prison for racketeering? Considering a hire she recently made for the investigation, it certainly sounds like she expects to charge him and will recommend that to the grand juries she has impaneled:

“Willis has publicly acknowledged that she also hired John E. Floyd, a nationally-renowned expert on state RICO charges, who is expected to consult this team. That’s relevant, given that her office is looking into the potential use of racketeering charges against Trump’s inner circle. Prosecutors would have to prove a pattern of corruption—the same way they show that mafia bosses direct underlings. Their mission would be to show that Trump and his lieutenants conspired in a ‘criminal enterprise’ to undermine a legitimate election.”

Willis also says she doesn’t care if prosecuting a former Republican president in a state as conservative as Georgia costs her reelection in 2024:

“My philosophy is just: We’re going to call balls and strikes. And it is what it is. We’re just going to use the law and the facts. I’m not going to worry about the politics of that. And I do understand what I’m saying. If that means I’m only the DA for one term… that’ll be what God has me do for these four years.”

Fani Willis is Donald Trump’s worst nightmare made flesh: A strong, self-assured black woman who doesn’t have to kowtow to him and can destroy what’s left of his pathetic little con game.

Categories
Crime Donald Trump Elections

Rudy Now Facing Racketeering Charges That Could Send Him To Prison For The Rest Of His Life

Over the past four years, few people have been more fanatically devoted to former President Donald Trump than the ex-mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, who allegedly went to Ukraine seeking dirt on President Joe Biden and only succeeded in getting Trump impeached with his actions.

Now, however, with Trump out of office, Giuliani is coming under increased scrutiny that has him on the verge of being sent to prison for decades if he’s found guilty by a jury of his peers.

The New York Times reports that Giuliani, along with other close associates of the former president, is under scrutiny for his role in spreading lies about how the 2020 election was supposedly “stolen,” which has drawn the attention of Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani T. Willis, who is considering filing racketeering charges against the former mayor:

“Ms. Willis is also open to considering not just conspiracy but racketeering charges. As she put it in the interview, racketeering could apply to anyone who uses a legal entity — presumably anything from a government agency to that person’s own public office — to conduct overt acts for an illegal purpose. In this case, it applies to the pressure the president and his allies exerted on Georgia officials to overturn the election.”

When the word “racketeering” is used, many people immediately think of mafia kingpins and others involved in organized crime, but Willis notes that it can also apply to cheating or elections:

“I always tell people when they hear the word racketeering, they think of ‘The Godfather,’” but she noted that it could also extend to otherwise lawful organizations that are used to break the law.

“If you have various overt acts for an illegal purpose, I think you can — you may — get there,” she said.

And if indeed Willis does “get there,” it would be catastrophic for Giuliani, who is already 76 years old. The penalties for racketeering in the Peach State range from 5 to 20 years in prison, meaning that if the president’s attorney is convicted, he would be looking at what would amount to a death sentence.

For her part, D.A. Willis makes it clear she won’t hesitate to take on anyone who breaks the law in her county:

“It is really not a choice — to me, it’s an obligation. Each D.A. in the country has a certain jurisdiction that they’re responsible for. If alleged crime happens within their jurisdiction, I think they have a duty to investigate it.”

That dedication to service could well be what brings down anyone who tried to change the vote count in Georgia last November, including the former president, who is also under investigation by Willis’s office. As the old saying reminds us, “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

 

Categories
Donald Trump Elections

Donald Trump May Be Facing Racketeering Charges For His Attempts To Steal The Election

Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, and he lost it badly. Ironically, he lost to Joe Biden by the very same electoral vote margin — 306 to 232 — that gave him a victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Trump also lost the popular vote to Biden by over 7 million ballots, which is 4 million more than Clinton beat Trump by four years earlier.

In other words, Biden won a decisive victory, and the exit polls show he won because Democratic voters were energized and organized, independents broke for the former vice president, and the majority of Americans were simply sick and tired of Donald Trump’s bullshit.

Remember when Trump tried to overturn the will of the voters in four states and get the U.S. Supreme Court to hand him a second term, which the court refused to do, not only because Trump and his defenders have no case?

How bad was the lawsuit that was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton? So bad that Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Law School, said this about it:

“It’s all of the Hail Mary pass lawsuits strung together, in the erroneous hope that somehow lining them all up will make them look more impressive. It’s procedurally defective. It’s substantially defective.”

So what happens now, other than Biden being inaugurated on January 20?

Well, the lawsuit could wind up leading to Trump and his attorneys being charged with racketeering once he’s out of office, according to former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman, who had this to say recently on MSNBC when asked by host Ari Melber what “sanction” might be levied for the Texas election lawsuit:

“Against the lawyers, the client Donald Trump, they should be paying for the court time and other lawyers, and I look for criminal sanctions. If you take this back to what the goal here was, which was to keep Joe Biden from becoming president, they are involved in bribery, extortion with (Ukrainian) President Zelensky, that carried through a premeditated plan to steal the election from Joe Biden.”

Bribery and extortion are two of the crimes that suggest racketeering has taken place and can be charged. That led Akerman to add:

“That was the goal of their entire scheme, and I think there is probably a viable racketeering count that could be brought against the people involved, including Donald Trump.”

If the next U.S. attorney general wants to, he or she can easily charge Trump and his lawyers with racketeering. And then they can all be locked up for a very long time.