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Andrew Fleischman, with Ross & Pines in Atlanta. (Photo: John Disney/ALM)

When President Donald Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ask him to “find” 11,780 votes to swing the result of the election, Trump was probably not committing a crime under Georgia law. You’d need a thesaurus to list all the things wrong with the call, which was a ramshackle hodgepodge of discredited conspiracy theories, venal rib-elbowing and the occasional clearing of the throat from the president’s counsel, Cleta Mitchell, for instance when the president claimed that ballots for Joe Biden were counted “three times.” But in that long list of adjectives, “criminal” doesn’t quite fit.

Before getting into why, remember that every criminal law on the books was written, sponsored and passed by someone who has chosen politics as their vocation. In practice, this means broad, vague laws on party to a crime, drug possession and aggravated assault, as well as extremely narrow, specific laws for the sort of things a politician might get in trouble for. That’s why Georgia has a dozen statutory defenses to speeding and DUI, on behalf of all our tipsy lawmakers in a hurry, and hardly any for possession of marijuana, which is more popular with their constituents.

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