Georgia’s Broad Racketeering Law Poses Potential Risks for Donald Trump


In recent news, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been utilizing Georgia’s expansive racketeering statute, raising concerns that it may now ensnare former President Donald Trump.

Georgia’s Broad Racketeering Law Poses Potential Risks for Donald Trump

Critics argue that she has pushed the boundaries of the law beyond its original intent.

The 2013 Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal

In 2013, Fani Willis served as the lead prosecutor in one of Georgia’s longest criminal trials. The case involved teachers and administrators in Atlanta public schools who were accused of cheating on standardized tests. Georgia’s Broad

A special report commissioned by Georgia’s governor revealed that 178 educators, including over three dozen principals and a superintendent, had engaged in “organized and systemic misconduct” since 2001.

The accusations ranged from teachers providing answers to altering incorrect responses to administrators offering incentives for cheating and penalizing those who refused to participate.

Utilizing the RICO Statute in Education Cases

The Fulton County district attorney’s office utilized Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to indict 35 educators and administrators for conspiracy to violate the statute.

RICO, historically associated with prosecuting Mafia figures, allowed prosecutors to charge the individuals involved in the cheating scandal as part of a larger criminal enterprise. Georgia’s Broad

During the trial, Fani Willis explained how RICO charges could be applied in the case, emphasizing the shared goal of illegally inflating test scores.

Plea Deals and Convictions

Most of the educators involved in the case took plea deals, while a dozen went to trial. Eleven of the defendants were found guilty of RICO participation, with six of them currently appealing their convictions. Some critics questioned the appropriateness of applying RICO Georgia’s Broad

The Significance of the RICO Statute

Traditionally, a racket referred to an illegal money-making scheme. The federal RICO statute, introduced in 1970, allows prosecutors to impose severe penalties on individuals involved in a larger criminal enterprise.

Georgia’s RICO statute, created in 1980, focuses on a range of illegal acts that further a single criminal goal, making it a powerful tool for prosecutors in complex cases.

Expansion of RICO Cases under Fani Willis

Since Fani Willis assumed the role of Fulton County’s district attorney in 2021, the use of RICO indictments has increased significantly. Georgia’s Broad

Willis reported having more RICO indictments in the past 18 to 20 months than in the previous decade. Notably, she announced a 56-count RICO indictment against over two dozen individuals associated with a gang called Y.S.L., including the rapper Young Thug.

Criticisms and Legal Impact

Georgia’s broad RICO statute, which doesn’t require demonstrating an underlying criminal enterprise, has drawn criticism for its potential to draw multiple defendants into complex cases.

Some argue that the statute’s breadth makes Georgia prosecutors more likely to employ it as a vehicle for major cases.


Fani Willis, Fulton County’s district attorney, has been at the forefront of utilizing Georgia’s expansive RICO statute in high-profile cases, such as the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal and the Y.S.L. gang indictment.

The use of RICO charges in non-traditional contexts continues to raise discussions about its appropriateness and the potential implications on

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