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 in the state.
Akerman, who served as an assistant special prosecutor during the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon, said he believed that tape would be enough to lead to a possible conviction.
“If you are asking which of the cases right now, which one is going to send Donald Trump to prison, that is the case,” he said. “There is a really neat three-year felony in Georgia, that Donald Trump has violated. Prosecutors love tape-recorded evidence because you cannot cross-examine it”
“What is significant with those tapes is that when you put it in context of all of the evidence that the January 6 committee has uncovered — you put that together, Donald Trump has zero defense in Georgia,” he added.
“If I had to put my money on one prosecution that’s going to go forward here that will send Donald Trump to jail — it’s Georgia.”
Trump may have violated several federal laws in his call with Raffensperger. Georgia state law also makes it a crime 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 another person to commit such a felony, punishable by a sentence of up to three years in prison.
Trump’s only potential defense would be to “somehow pick up on some ambiguity in the tape, that he did not really mean what he said,” Akerman noted, though he doesn’t think that will stand up.
“Put in the context about the January 6th committee has found, I think they have gotten a case beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has laid out damning evidence from thousands of hours of testimony and tens of thousands of pages of documents in hearings this month that create a picture of how Trump and his allies spread falsehoods about the 2020 election and tried to overturn the results despite knowing the accusations were untrue.
Trump has argued his conversation with Raffensperger was “PERFECT and appropriate.”