In a recorded call from Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger ahead of the official 2020 vote certification, Trump told the election official to “find” the 11,780 votes needed to reverse his loss to Joe Biden within the state.
Akerman, who served as an assistant special prosecutor through the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon, said he believed that tape can be enough to steer to a possible conviction.
“In the event you are asking which of the cases at once, which one goes to send Donald Trump to prison, that’s the case,” he said. “There’s a very neat three-year felony in Georgia, that Donald Trump has violated. Prosecutors love tape-recorded evidence because you can not cross-examine it”
“What is critical with those tapes is that while you put it in context of all the evidence that the January 6 committee has uncovered — you place that together, Donald Trump has zero defense in Georgia,” he added.
“If I needed to put my money on one prosecution that’s going to go forward here that may send Donald Trump to jail — it’s Georgia.”
Trump could have violated several federal laws in his call with Raffensperger. Georgia state law also makes it against the law to willfully tamper with “any electors list, voter’s certificate, numbered list of voters, ballot box, voting machine, direct recording electronic (DRE) equipment, or tabulating machine” or to solicit one other person to commit such a felony, punishable by a sentence of up to a few years in prison.
Trump’s only potential defense can be to “by some means pick up on some ambiguity within the tape, that he did probably not mean what he said,” Akerman noted, though he doesn’t think that may rise up.
“Put within the context concerning the January sixth committee has found, I feel they’ve gotten a case beyond an affordable doubt,” he said.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has laid out damning evidence from hundreds of hours of testimony and tens of hundreds of pages of documents in hearings this month that create an image of how Trump and his allies spread falsehoods concerning the 2020 election and tried to overturn the outcomes despite knowing the accusations were unfaithful.
Trump has argued his conversation with Raffensperger was “PERFECT and appropriate.”