The Democrats and legacy media have been aflutter since the Georgia secretary of state leaked to the media a recording of President Trump’s telephone call regarding settlement of legal challenges to the state’s election results.
Trump’s critics have called his statements about finding additional votes an impeachable offense and a crime. They have insisted he be prosecuted for arguing his case that the election was unfair.
But Professor Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at Georgia Washington University, says such claims are “laughable.”
Turley, who’s been counsel in many notable cases in recent years, including a U.S. House challenge to Obamacare, said it has become “popular and profitable” for the media to attack Trump as a “criminal Midas figure: everything he says or does turns instantly into a crime.”
There’s no abatement as Trump’s term comes to a conclusion, he wrote on his website.
“Within minutes of the leaking of a call between Trump and Georgia election officials, the same experts were declaring yet another clear crime. The loudest was Andrew Weissmann whose desire to find a crime to use against Trump appears to move from an obsession to a delusion. There may be evidence that supports a criminal allegation related to this call but the transcript does not come close to a prosecutable case,” he said.
Turley criticized Weissman, a lead prosecutor in special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, for seeming “intent on proving his critics correct about his profound bias against President Donald Trump and his reckless approach to prosecutorial standards. He recently called for prosecutors to use grand juries to pursue Trump and others in an unrelenting campaign based on unfounded legal theories. His recent book has been denounced by other prosecutors as unprofessional and inappropriate.”
Turley said the claim that the telephone call released by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was criminal “is legally absurd.”
“As a matter of legal practice, the taping (let alone the release) of settlement discussions is considered highly inappropriate. In some states, it would constitute a crime to engage in such nonconsensual taping. (Georgia is a one party consent state),” Turley noted.
But Trump’s statement — “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state” — provides no evidence of crime under federal law, Turley said.
He noted some claim it was an attempt to intimidate a voter indirectly.
“Such an interpretation comes to a full stop at intent. This was a settlement discussion over election challenges with a variety of lawyers present, not some backroom at the Bada Bing club. The entire stated purpose of the challenges was to count what the Trump campaign alleged were uncounted votes that surpassed the 11,780 deficit. Trump repeatedly asserted that he won the election and put forward different theories of how many more votes were destroyed or not counted. He continued to return to the fact that they only need to confirm 11,780 of those hundreds of thousands of allegedly uncounted ballots,” he said.
Georgia lawyers rebutted Trump, said Turley.
“In any criminal case, Trump would simply argue that he was restating the point of the pending cases in a settlement negotiation: that the election was not fair and that he actually won. That is a view shared by roughly 40 percent of the public. A prosecutor would have to show that Trump clearly knew that his theories were bogus and that he did not believe there were sufficient ballots to reach that number,” he said.
“As a criminal defense attorney, I would view a case built on that line as not just challengeable but laughable,” said Turley.
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.