Text messages exchanged between members of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign team could give prosecutors “stronger evidence” of an alleged crime in Georgia, said former prosecutor Michael Zeldin.
Trump is facing an investigation from Georgia’s Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over his alleged attempt at thwarting the 2020 presidential election results in the state, where President Joe Biden eked out a narrow victory. Willis’ probe began with a focus on a call in which Trump allegedly pressed Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to tilt the election in his favor and has since expanded to include an alleged scheme to submit a false slate of electors to the Electoral College.
CNN reported on Friday that newly uncovered text messages showed members of Trump’s staff debating whether they should use data obtained from a voting machine to decertify a key Senate race that helped decide whether Democrats or Republicans would hold control of Congress’ upper chamber.
“We only have until Saturday to decide if we are going to use this report to try to decertify the Senate run-off election or if we hold it for a bigger moment,” former National Security Agency (NSA) official Jim Penrose, who worked for Trump at the time, allegedly texted to Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan.
That text could provide prosecutors with new evidence against Trump, Zeldin, a CNN legal analyst, said during a CNN appearance on Saturday. He added that the message could provide prosecutors with “actually stronger evidence” than the phone call to Raffensperger.
“It is evidence that I think is more damning than that phone call because this is a conspiracy to acquire, and they actually did acquire, data from voting machines in Georgia,” Zeldin said. “They endeavored to do so in Arizona and in Michigan. This is a broad scheme to interfere with the orderly transfer of power and to decertify the Biden win.”
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s campaign and Zeldin for comment via email.
The text was allegedly in relation to the 2021 Georgia runoff election, which saw Democrat Jon Ossoff defeat former Republican Senator David Perdue, helping hand Democrats control of the Senate.
Trump has maintained his innocence in the Georgia case and has accused prosecutors who have investigated his conduct surrounding the 2020 election, which he has repeatedly claimed was rigged despite substantial evidence, of conducting witch hunts aimed at weakening his stance in the 2024 presidential race. He has defended his call to Raffensperger, calling it a “perfect” phone call.
“My phone call to the Secretary of State of Georgia, and a second call which the Marxists, Communists, Racists, and RINOS don’t even want to talk about, were ‘PERFECT’ calls,” Trump posted on Truth Social in January. “Many people, including lawyers for both sides, were knowingly on the line. I was protesting a RIGGED & STOLEN Election, which evidence proves it was. I won Georgia by a lot, but only needed a small number of votes from that total number.”
Zeldin, however, warned that these new text messages could be problematic for Trump’s defense efforts, as it may indicate several potentially broken laws.
“What we have here is the unauthorized access to this privileged computed data. There is a conspiracy to acquire and improperly distribute that data. There is probably a crime of interfering with the rights of the people of Georgia to have a free and fair election,” Zeldin said.
He added that if prosecutors are able to prove Trump’s involvement in the text, it would be “very direct evidence of his criminal intent.” However, no reporting has indicated that Trump has knowledge of the specific message.