Florida officials are preparing options for what to do about Donald Trump should he be charged by New York prosecutors while he is in the Sunshine state.
The Manhattan district attorney’s criminal investigation into the former president is reaching its final stages and an obscure extradition clause in Florida law could benefit Trump if he’s indicted.
In Florida’s statute on interstate extradition, the state’s governor has the power to intervene over whether an indicted ‘person ought to be surrendered’ to law enforcement officials from another state, Politico revealed.
That means if Trump gets charged by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance – who is probing the former president’s business practices – it would be in the hands of Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close Trump friend and ally, to decide if Trump should be handed over to New York authorities.
Law enforcement officials in Palm Beach County, Fla., where Trump lives in his Mar-a-Lago club, are preparing for a possible indictment coming down from New York.
And they’re discussing how to how to handle the thorny extradition issue that could come from it, two sources close to the matter told the news outlet.
‘The statute leaves room for interpretation that the governor has the power to order a review and potentially not comply with the extradition notice,’ Joe Abruzzo, clerk of the Circuit Court of Palm Beach County, told Politico.
He is the official who would be in charge of opening a potential fugitive-at-large case.
Abruzzo is also a close friend of President Joe Biden’s brother Frank, who works for a Florida-based law firm. Abruzzo said that, despite his friendship with the Biden family, ‘the full extent of the law will be followed and carried out appropriately, without bias.’
Pictures taken by DailyMail.com show Donald Trump boarding a private jet last week and thought to be headed to New Jersey, where he will spend the summer season at his Bedminister golf club
Florida officials are debating what to do about Donald Trump if he’s indicted by New York prosecutors while in their state as an obscure state law gives Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis – seen with Trump at a 2018 campaign rally – the power to decide extradition
It’s unclear if Vance will seek an indictment. Prosecutors in New York obtained the former president’s tax records in March, after a protracted legal battle that ended when the Supreme Court ruled Trump had to hand them over.
Trump, however, has moved to his Bedminister, N.J., club as Mar-a-Lago has closed for the hot summer season. In moving, he lost the protection he had in Florida.
Even though New Jersey has a similar extradition statue – giving the governor power to decide – that state’s top executive is Democrat Phi Murphy, who is no fan of Trump’s and unlikely to help him.
If there is an indictment, Trump’s lawyers could also negotiate a condition of surrender, which would not involve local law enforcement nor either state’s governors.
An attorney for the former president didn’t comment to Politico. But Trump has repeatedly maintained his innocence and declared himself to be the victim of a ‘witch hunt.’
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is probing the former president’s business practices and believed to be wrapping up his investigation
This week, President Donald Trump spent two days holed up in Trump Tower in Manhattan before he was pictured leaving Tuesday, along with his heavy security detail
Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are close allies and friends – above DeSantis (in the black shirt) golfs with Trump at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach
The issue took on a renewed sense of urgency when Vance said last month that he will retire at the end of 2021 and there is speculation his office will issue any indictments before that.
Vance’s investigation into the Trump Organization also intensified last month, when prosecutors interviewed several employees of Trump’s lender, Deutsche Bank, and his insurance brokerage, Aon.
New subpoenas were issued and some witnesses were interviewed before a grand jury.
Vance also hired financial accounting experts and people with extensive experience in white-collar crime for the Trump investigation.
And, in March, the Manhattan DA’s office received thousands of documents from Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA, including tax returns from January 2011 to August 2019, as well as financial statements, engagement letters and communications related to financial disclosures.
Any state criminal charges are beyond the reach of federal pardons.
Trump is also being investigated in two other matters: by Justice Department officials for his role in the January 6th MAGA riot on Capitol Hill and in Georgia, where state prosecutors are looking into Trump’s efforts to manipulate the state’s 2020 election results.