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The Student Newspaper of Howard Community College

The HCC Times

The Student Newspaper of Howard Community College

The HCC Times


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Opinion: Esports Are Just as Real as Any Other Sport
Opinion: Esports Are Just as Real as Any Other Sport
Justin Ho, Guest Writer • May 10, 2024

Though they’re just people sitting behind monitors clicking a mouse and pressing a keyboard, the crowd roars with excitement. A gaming team...

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Live by the Code Die By The Code

Rudy Goes from Rico Prosecutor to RICO Defendant
Rudy Giulianis booking mugshot from Fulton County jail before being released on bond.
Fulton County Sheriff’s Office
Rudy Giuliani’s booking mugshot from Fulton County jail before being released on bond.

New York City Thursday November 20th, 1986, at 12:20 Pm a crowded and nervous courtroom makes a historic decision. The headlines read that a federal jury in Manhattan district court voted to convict eight members of the La Cosa Nostra commission. 

In the first ever successful application of the Federal RICO Statute against the American Mafia.

The young, ambitious United States District attorney in charge of the case Rudolph W. Giuliani is quoted in the 1986 article

“The verdict reached today has resulted in dismantling the ruling council of LA Cosa Nostra”

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The defendant’s Carmine Persico, Anthony Corallo, and Anthony Salermo are the first of many mafia and organized crime leaders convicted of RICO.

The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Statute passed on October 15, 1970 as part of a larger bill called the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 was passed in order to stem the infiltration of organized crime and racketeering into legitimate organizations that participate in interstate commerce.

That all sounds like a bunch of boring legal non-sense, but what you have to understand is that in the early to mid twentieth century organized crime groups had amassed fortunes and powerful political connections after the repeal of prohibition on December 5th, 1933 into the decades following the crime control act of 1970. 

The result was that organized crime in America had been transformed from figures like Al Capone supplying Americans with prohibited alcohol, to Jimmy Hoffa, the President of the Teamsters Union who held the bargaining power of over two million American workers. 

This allowed organized crime unimaginable power which allowed them to allegedly rub shoulders with the President of the United States Richard Milhouse Nixon and other powerful political and business leaders

President Richard Nixon Right, close friend Bebe Rebozo left, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hover in 1971 in Key Biscayne, Florida. (National Archives)

The lines become blurred between what was criminally considered corruption and illegal.

This created an environment where public officials were bribed or coerced into awarding lucrative contracts and political favors for organized crime. The organized crime of 1970, and of today operates more like a corporation than a criminal gang. 

If a Coca-Cola distribution center employee burned down a Pespi distribution center, only the employee would be blamed. However, what if the CEO of Coca-Cola told the employee to do it? However, the CEO never even met the employee or ever contacted him in any form, the CEO only talked to the national distribution manager. The national distribution manager only ever talked to the regional manager, and the regional manager only ever talked to the distribution center manager. 

Should the CEO be held criminally liable? Before the enactment of the RICO Statute this was nearly impossible to prove, let alone criminally prosecute. However, the RICO Statute makes it a crime in itself to be the CEO of a company who has repeatedly burned down their competitors’ distribution centers. This means the government does not need to prove Peter told Paul to tell Sarah to rob Steve if the government can prove the same group of people are connected to a pattern of crime then they are guilty of RICO.

The once thought to be untouchable power structure of a criminal organization that traces its roots to the early 1800’s in Naples Italy was dealt the first of what will turn out to be a series of knockout blows from RICO.

The sense in conservative political circles in 1986 is that Ronald Reagan and law and order is winning, the feeling in Italian organized crime is that the United States government are the real gangsters who control the monopoly of violence and collect protection but legally. 

Over 36 years later, on August 14th 2023, a Grand Jury in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta, Georgia, indicted 18 individuals in violation of a Georgia state adopted RICO statute.

In what will likely go down as one of the biggest ironies in 21st century legal proceedings, the indictments list the 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump and former Manhattan district attorney and former Mayor of New York City Rudolph W. Giuliani as defendants being accused of being members of a criminal enterprise involved in a pattern of racketeering.

Rudolph Giuliani was once considered one of the most famous law enforcement officials in the United States who prosecuted famous criminal cases including the “Pizza Connection” and “Junk Bond King” Michael Milken (Who trump pardoned in 2020).

Jeffery Lamar Williams better known by his stage name Young Thug on the red carpet. (Deposit Photos )

Giuliani, arguably the architect of modern criminology and policing with his “Broken Windows Theory”, the Theory of Broken Windows denotes that acts of disorder such as vandalism, loitering and broken windows, invite further criminal activity and should be prosecuted.

This theory is how, as New York City’s Mayor, Giuliani claimed to cut down on crime in the 1990’s by increasing arrests for minor offenses. This has helped guide the tough on crime politics of the United States leading it to incarcerate more people per capita than anywhere in the world. 

 However, Trump and Giuliani are alleged to have incited people to break windows and vandalize the U.S Capitol complex on Thursday January 6, 2021. This led to people dying, hundreds of participants being arrested, some of which were convicted of seditious conspiracy receiving decades long sentences such as the alleged leader of the far-right group the Proud Boys Henry “Enrique” Tarrio.    

As was the case in famous La Cosa Nostra trials, the hanging question is how thick the loyalty of the 18 indicted defendants in the Georgia Rico case are.

The prosecuting Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis is no stranger to RICO cases, with a simultaneous case occurring against Jeffery Clark better known as “Young Thug” who is being accused of a gang related RICO conspiracy.

Opponents of the RICO statute have since its creation argued that the law is too far reaching, it has been successfully applied against everything from corporations to violent street gangs. Whether or not it will be successfully used against a former sitting president and former anti-corruption Federal prosecutor accused of corruption remains to be seen. However, what is clear is the lines between legal and illegal,  and right and wrong have never been more blurred.  

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About the Contributor
Timothy Winans
Timothy Winans, Staff Writer, Former Content Strategist
Timothy Winans is currently a physical science major at Howard Community College. As Content Strategist he strived for The HCC Times to provide articles to the student body that reflect the various interests and topics that students would to like to stay informed of, while also empowering The HCC Times staff writers and photographers to pursue the topics that deeply engage them. Starting in the Spring semester of 2023 Timothy Winans is a Staff Writer for The HCC Times after serving as Content Strategist for two semesters.

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