DOJ debates using RICO law to charge insurrectionists involved in Capitol riot: report

Capitol attack
Sgt. Joshua Zook, right, and Spc. Kenneth Steinly from the 2nd Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Pennsylvania Army National Guard stand guard in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 10, 2021. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from several states have traveled to Washington to provide support to federal and district authorities leading up to the 59th Presidential Inauguration. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Pfc. Sara Ropski)

The U.S. Dept. of Justice is weighing the use of "RICO" laws, designed to prosecute Mafia bosses behind racketeering crimes, to charge far right group members who had a part in Donald Trump's January 6 attempted coup at the Capitol, Reuters reports.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) law "was crafted to help prosecutors convict top Mafia leaders who ordered others to commit crimes. RICO cases are complex, often take years to develop, and require approval from Justice Department leadership."

"RICO was designed to address the Godfather – the person who doesn't get their hands bloody," said Jeffrey Grell, an attorney who specializes in RICO law. "You would really only use RICO to go after the kingpins or the leaders."

Disgraced former president Donald Trump will be on trial in the U.S. Senate next week after the House of Representatives impeached him for inciting the January 6 insurrection.

"Obstructing an official government proceeding, the charge some Oath Keepers and Proud Boy members are currently facing, is considered a 'racketeering activity,'" Reuters adds.

Trump infamously told the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by," and later, they were part of the insurrection, according to multiple reports. The group's leader, Enrique Tarrio, for years worked undercover as a "prolific" informant, Reuters has also reported.

Read Reuters' full RICO report here.

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