Law enforcement officials in Palm Beach, Florida have reportedly prepared for the possibility that former President Donald Trump will be indicted in New York on tax or insurance fraud, and have made a plan about whether he would be extradited if the indictment goes forward, Politico reported, citing “two high-ranking county officials involved in planning sessions.”
Trump, who now resides in Florida, has been under investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. for possible tax, bank, or insurance fraud.
Vance obtained Trump’s tax returns and other financial documents in February after a years-long battle and has continued to investigate Trump’s dealings.
According to Politico, there is speculation that the indictments may come before the end of the year, as Vance announced that he plans to retire at the end of 2021.
What can DeSantis do?
Under Florida law, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has the power to determine whether a Florida resident should be extradited when indicted for a crime, and he could prevent Trump’s prosecution by refusing to turn him over to New York.
“The statute leaves room for interpretation that the governor has the power to order a review and potentially not comply with the extradition notice,” said clerk of the Circuit Court of Palm Beach County Joe Abruzzo.
Trump’s planned move to Bedminster, New Jersey during the summer months when his Mar-A-Lago resort is closed could be a problem if he is indicted, however, as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is a Democrat and would likely follow through on an extradition request.
“In the event of an indictment, Trump’s lawyers could also negotiate a condition of surrender, which could cut local law enforcement out. An attorney for Trump declined to comment,” Politico reported.
Trump denies wrongdoing
Vance’s investigation centers on a land conservation agreement Trump made on his Seven Springs property in New York in 2015 for which he got a $21 million tax deduction.
The attorney is looking into whether land values were artificially inflated as part of that deal, which would mean that Trump’s deduction was partly fraudulent.
Vance has reportedly spoken to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen a number of times since obtaining the financial documents, which does not bode well for Trump as Cohen has made accusations against the former president previously.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and said that the investigation was due to a “new phenomenon of ‘headhunting’ prosecutors and AGs.”