The One-Ring RICO Circus [IMAGE]

The Humane Society of the United States could be in legal hot water. HSUS and two of its in-house attorneys are defendants in a federal lawsuit alleging tortious activity under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. That’s the same law that has been used to target mobsters, and it’s now being used by Feld Entertainment, owner of the Ringling Bros. circus, to go after HSUS and other animal-rights activists. In fact, the ASPCA just agreed to pay $9.3 million to settle this litigation.

So what is HSUS accused of being a part of? The complaint itself is 129 pages, and stems from separate litigation that animal rights activists brought against Feld, which itself took years to litigate.

You’re welcome to read the litigation and the filings by all parties yourself by searching for case number 1:07-cv-01532 at PACER. You can also read the judge's outline of the payment scheme by animal rights groups here.

But if you don't want to wade through hundreds of pages of legalese and prefer the abridged version of what the alleged scheme was, check out our new graphic below (and be sure to share it with your friends).