OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A lengthy column published by a noted socialist outlet catering to the American hard left is critical of Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis, accusing her of using her prosecutorial position as a springboard for higher office.
Writing in Jacobin, London-based writer Amos Barshad cited a couple of cases that Willis charged under the state’s RICO statutes, including former President Donald Trump and two Atlanta-based rappers, to make his argument.
“Known for prosecuting Donald Trump on election subversion charges, Atlanta DA Fani Willis is using another high-profile RICO case involving rapper Young Thug to boost her image. But critics say her popularity is obscuring the wrongful nature of the case,” Barshad began.
He explained that rapper Lil Duke, whose real name is Martinez Arnold, flew to Atlanta on May 9, 2022, from Los Angeles, and traveled to the home of longtime friend and collaborator, superstar rapper Young Thug, whose name is Jeffrey Williams.
Later that day, police raided Williams’ home and arrested both men along with 26 others. They were indicted by Willis who alleged that YSL, which is a rap group and record label that Williams created, was a criminal organization instead. “The indictment stated that Arnold’s participation in YSL amounted to a violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. The penalty for violating RICO in Georgia is a prison sentence between five and twenty years,” Barshad wrote.
Willis has become a nationally recognized name thanks both to the YSL case and a concurrent RICO case: the prosecution of former president Donald Trump on election subversion charges. The Washington Post proclaimed Willis’s actions in the latter case could “save democracy.” But defense attorneys working the YSL case say that as Willis is embraced by the national media for her pursuit of Trump, the local people caught in her legal system — people like Arnold — are left harmed.
The national media’s fixation on the Trump case has further lionized the role of the American prosecutor — and boosted the archetype of the “prosecutor politician,” a mainstay of both major political parties. That lineage includes everyone from former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani to former New Jersey governor Chris Christie (R), former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Vice President Kamala Harris. All of them built their political careers in part off their work as prosecutors.
He went on to note that the phrase “prosecutor politician” was first coined by Jed Shugerman, a law professor at Boston University, in 2017.
Meanwhile, the legal team of Jeffrey Clarke, who served in the Justice Department during Trump’s term, filed a 39-page special plea in Fulton County Superior Court on Thursday demanding that Willis dismiss her “massive and grotesque abuse of prosecutorial power” indictment against him, citing his First Amendment right to question the 2020 election while accusing Willis of lacking personal jurisdiction to bring the charges.
“There is zero allegation or evidence that Mr. Clark directed any purposeful activity into the State of Georgia,” the lawyers wrote. “The inquiry ought to end there. But it gets worse: there are zero specific allegations or evidence that Mr. Clark agreed with any resident defendant to do anything.
“An arm-waving general and conclusory allegation that all defendants conspired to unlawfully overturn the 2020 election is not sufficient to meet the threshold due process requirements for establishing personal jurisdiction,” the filing added.
Willis’ attempt to “punish a thought crime with the full penal and coercive power of the State” by indicting Clark, former President Donald Trump, and 17 others, the lawyers wrote, has pushed the country into an unprecedented constitutional crisis.
“So here we are: this District Attorney seeks to imprison the leading presidential candidate of her opposite political party, to the acclaim of those baying for his destruction. She has dragged all of us not just into the outskirts of dangerous constitutional territory but into the maelstrom of a full-blown constitutional collapse,” the special plea adds, according to The Federalist.
“The Indictment rests on a dogmatic premise that the election of President Biden was free of material irregularity and that any thought, expression, or conduct of the Defendants to the contrary was necessarily wrongful and criminal, and thus constituted a massive (but on its face preposterous) Georgia RICO conspiracy,” the attorneys said.