A judge on Wednesday postponed the trial of an activist charged with a conspiracy in trying to stop construction of an Atlanta police center, derisively called “Cop City,” in what is viewed as a test case over whether the protests constituted criminal racketeering.
Chris Timmons, a partner at Knowles Gallant Timmons and attorney who teaches law at Georgia State University and has followed the case, said it was the first time Georgia has applied the RICO Act to a protest group. “Prosecutors are using a massively powerful law on what for some might be misdemeanors,” Timmons said.
“If prosecutors can prove that the actions of the group moved beyond protests into criminal activity, “then that could be the proper use of it, like joining in a conspiracy to rob a bank,” Timmons said.
“If King is acquitted, it won’t stop the other cases from going to trial,” Timmons said. “At most, it might mean that some of the others might get sweeter plea deals.”
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