Giuliani And The RICO Law Laid A Foundation For Anti-Black Prosecution Today

rudy giuliani standing with american flag in the background
Zain Murdock
August 23, 2023

In 1970, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was passed. It targeted organized crime by charging individual acts as part of a larger conspiracy. 

But how did former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani end up having RICO used against him?

Giuliani became known for using the new statute to charge Italian mafia families. He claimed it was all his idea, however a story debunked that claim not long after he became a defendant in a RICO trial himself.

RICO charges eventually targeted Black communities after Georgia’s 1980 expansion of its state RICO law. As a result, RICO allows groups even loosely affiliated to be charged, from rappers and teachers to Cop City protesters.

Now, Giuliani has been prosecuted with the same charge, accused of conspiring to manipulate the 2020 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor. The irony's blaring.

But, knowing America’s criminal legal system, it isn’t surprising.

“Crime” is whatever people in power say it is. And the irony of Giuliani’s charge stretches further. Because if we think of organized crime, conspiracy, and corruption, is the system not guilty of working against our communities, too?

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