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In a controversial move, Democratic Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis charged former President Donald Trump last month under Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It appears Willis, the proud daughter of a top Black Panther, may have unwittingly opened Pandora's box as it pertains to the acceptability of lawfare in the state — to the detriment of her fellow leftists.
Georgia's Republican attorney general made clear Tuesday that the gloves are now off, indicting 61 radicals under the same statute.
Now with the shoe on the other foot, leftists are decrying the RICO charges, calling them "anti-democratic," reported the Associated Press.
What's the background?
Leftist militants have long campaigned against the construction of the new $90 million police training center in Dekalb County's South River Forest, employing terroristic tactics to get their way.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) noted earlier this year that "domestic terrorism will NOT be tolerated in this state. ... We will not rest until those who use violence and intimidation for an extremist end are brought to justice."
In January, Attorney General Chris Carr put the extremists — who have enjoyed support from Democrat-affiliated entities and other liberal outfits — on notice, stressing, "We are not Oregon. We are not California. We are not Washington. You cannot come to our state, break our laws, throw rocks at buildings, damage property, and shoot police officers. You can and you will be charged, and that's exactly what we're doing."
In the months since, dozens of radicals including a Southern Poverty Law Center attorney have been charged in connection to the so-called "Stop Cop City" movement.
Three dozen have been slapped with domestic terrorism charges. Three have been hit with felony intimidation charges for reportedly distributing flyers accusing a state trooper of being a "murderer" for killing a violent extremist. Three radicals involved with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund were charged in May with charities fraud and money laundering.
While some of these charges might ultimately stick, it appears that Carr is not taking anything for granted. Besides, now if convicted under RICO, the extremists' sentences could be greatly compounded.
Carr came through Tuesday with a sweeping indictment, slapping 61 extremists in Fulton County with racketeering charges.
All of those indicted are members of Defend the Atlanta Forest, which Carr's office characterized in a statement as an "anarchist, anti-police, and anti-business extremist organization."
Carr said in press conference concerning the charges, "As the indictment asserts, members of Defend the Atlanta Forest subscribe to a philosophy of anarchy. They hold a core belief that society should abolish police, government, and private business, and as further alleged, they're willing to bring about such changes 'by any means necessary,'" reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Georgia attorney general's office indicated the 61 defendants "are alleged to have conspired together to prevent the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center by conducting, coordinating, and organizing acts of violence, intimidation, and property destruction in Fulton County, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, and other states."
Forty-three of the defendants were previously charged with domestic terrorism.
Of the 61 suspects indicted, only 13 are from Georgia.
"As this indictment shows, looking the other way when violence occurs is not an option in Georgia," said Carr.
"If you come to our state and shoot a police officer, throw Molotov cocktails at law enforcement, set fire to police vehicles, damage construction equipment, vandalize private homes and businesses, and terrorize their occupants, you can and will be held accountable," Carr continued. "We will not waver when it comes to keeping people safe, enforcing the rule of law, and ensuring those who engage in criminal activity are vigorously pursued and aggressively prosecuted."
Among the 225 incidents identified in the indictments, one was the "Night of Rage" planned for Jan. 21, 2023, in the aftermath of a police-involved shooting. An extremist had shot a Georgia State Patrol trooper in the gut, but that's not what enraged leftists. Instead, the anti-police radicals took issue with law enforcement officers subsequently putting the leftist gunman in the ground.
TheBlaze previously reported that the son of House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), not among those named in the indictment, got a slap on the wrists for participating in the so-called night of rage. Police indicated Jared Dowell not only assaulted an officer but vandalized a Boston monument, writing, "NO COP CITY" and "ACAB."
Other incidents accounted for in the indictment include: firebombings on police officers and law enforcement offices; attacks on firefighters and medics; sabotage on construction equipment; and intimidation efforts at the home of at least one state trooper.
Greg Bluestein of the Journal-Constitution confirmed that the Fulton County grand jury used to indict Trump and his co-defendants was the same that handed up the indictments against the 61 leftists.
The case has been assigned to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams.
The Cop City Vote Coalition, a radical outfit dedicated to preventing the construction of the police training center, called the charges "authoritarian" and "anti-democratic," suggesting in a statement, "These charges, like the previous repressive prosecutions by the State of Georgia, seek to intimidate protestors, legal observers, and bail funds alike, and send the chilling message that any dissent to Cop City will be punished with the full power and violence of the government."
The ACLU called the indictments "unprecedented and extremely concerning," adding that the organization is "tracking the situation closely."
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.