President Donald Trump and Kwame Kilpatrick. What do they have in common?
Well, they both, at some point in their political careers, fancied themselves as kings. And it's fair to say both don't love the FBI.
Former Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, a regular talking head on MSNBC and a law professor at the University of Michigan, discusses in a column in the Daily Beast why the tantilizing federal probes into the Trump orbit reminds her of Kilpatrick, 48, who is currently in a federal prison in New Jersey serving out his 28-year sentence for public corruption.
McQuade, who was among more than 40 U.S. Attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama forced to resign by Trump in March 2017 so he could appoint his own people, writes:
Referring to a cooperator as a “rat,” President Trump sometimes sounds like a mob boss. He may ultimately be prosecuted like one, too...
It is impossible to know exactly what the federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating, but the wide array of crimes brings to mind a case that was prosecuted in Detroit when I served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and several of his associates were convicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as RICO.
RICO is a statute that was passed in 1970 to prosecute organized crime. Until then, mob bosses would often insulate themselves from criminal exposure by directing underlings to commit crimes. In response, Congress enacted RICO, which, among other things, makes it a crime for any person associated with an enterprise to participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of the enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity...
In Kilpatrick’s case, he and others were charged with RICO conspiracy. The alleged enterprise in his case was an association of the former mayor, his father, a contractor, and certain members of his administration...
I have been asked before about whether the special counsel’s investigation could result in RICO charges, and I have thought that RICO was a bridge too far. Mueller’s investigation may yet uncover a conspiracy with Russia or WikiLeaks or obstruction of justice, but election interference does not seem to encompass the ongoing pattern of disparate crimes that RICO was intended to capture. Now that the Trump inaugural committee or the Trump Organization may be targets of SDNY’s investigation, however, the theory does not seem so far-fetched.
She goes on to write about the New York U.S. Attorney's probe:
Either one of those Trump entities could potentially be considered an “enterprise” for purposes of a RICO charge, if the evidence supported it. So, too, could a collection of Trump and his associates be considered an association, in fact, just as Kilpatrick and his associates formed the Kilpatrick Enterprise."