FBI maybe taking on News Corp with RICO Act
In a great piece for Adweek which draws parallels between News Corp. and the Mob, Michael Wolff reports that the idea of prosecuting News Corp. with the RICO Act is being taken at least somewhat seriously at the FBI:
Well-sourced information coming out of the Department of Justice and the FBI suggests a debate is going on that could result in the recently launched investigations of News Corp. falling under the RICO statutes.
RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, establishes a way to prosecute the leaders of organizations—and strike at the organizations themselves—for crimes company leaders may not have directly committed, but which were otherwise countenanced by the organization. Any two of a series of crimes that can be proven to have occurred within a 10-year period by members of the organization can establish a pattern of racketeering and result in draconian remedies. In 1990, following the indictment of Michael Milken for insider trading, Drexel Burnham Lambert, the firm that employed him, collapsed in the face of a RICO investigation.
How would they do that, you ask? Wolff again:
Here is where the RICO logic comes in. The usual path of a criminal investigation follows the crimes back to the source—that’s what happened to News Corp. in the U.K. when the royal family discovered that its voice mail messages were appearing in the press. But in a RICO investigation, you are really following the ethos and methods of operation of a group or organization to the crime. In other words, criminal activity is not seen as an isolated or particular event—as News Corp. has desperately and unsuccessfully tried to portray the crimes that occurred in the U.K.—but as an established pattern of conduct.