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Trump, Young Thug cases put Fulton County prosecutor's vision in focus

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has doggedly gone after organized crime since she was elected. This week is a major test of her philosophy.


This week, we're seeing the prosecutorial philosophy of Georgia's Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis put to the test as her office moves forward with two high-profile cases.

The first involves a rapper and an alleged criminal street gang. The second, a former president and a mob of supporters. Willis, who has experience building organized crime cases, seems to have her work cut out for her. Failing to hold the central characters of these two cases accountable would be major missteps.

On Monday, a judge announced that a grand jury Willis empaneled to investigate efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia has completed its work and shared its findings with Willis' office. Now, the choice whether to prosecute former President Donald Trump is in her hands. Notably, she has said it’s possible she could pursue charges related to organized crime in that case.

Another closely watched case moving forward this week is the racketeering trial involving rapper Young Thug (real name Jeffery Williams) and several co-defendants, all of whom stand accused of committing crimes in furtherance of a street gang. Williams and several of his associates have been charged under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, law.

Williams has pleaded not guilty to the various charges against him, and denies being a member of a criminal gang. 

It's possible Willis is contemplating a similar charge against Trump or his associates involved in the 2020 election scheme. If you’ve been following The ReidOut Blog over the past year, you likely know I'm fascinated by the potential for RICO convictions to come out of both the Young Thug case and the Trump election probe.

Some of the evidence gathered by Willis' office in both cases share certain characteristics. In the lead-up to Williams' trial, for example, Willis’ office cited social media posts it alleges show the rapper endorsing crimes against rival gang members. And prosecutors have alleged Williams encouraged his associates to commit crimes in phone conversations.

Of course, Trump's no stranger to using the phone and social media to further a dangerous cause. He shamelessly spread lies on Twitter about Georgia officials committing election fraud in 2020 — claims the House Jan. 6 committee showed Trump knew to be false. And there's audio of him pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger over the phone to help overturn Joe Biden’s election victory.

Keep close watch of both of these cases. I see a real opportunity here to compare the administration of justice. In my view, there’s no reason Trump should elude a RICO charge for his post-election behaviors. That is, unless RICO prosecutions are, for some strange reason, reserved for rappers and street gangs.