POLITICO Playbook: How Palm Beach is preparing for a possible Trump indictment - POLITICO
Category: News & PoliticsVia: pat-wilson • 7 months ago • 10 comments
By: Nahal Toosi and Nick Niedzwiadek (POLITICO)
Cue the audio of the Sixty Minutes clock ticking...
DRIVING THE DAY
SCOOP: PALM BEACH MAKES CONTINGENCY PLANS IN CASE TRUMP IS INDICTED — Law enforcement officials in Palm Beach County, Fla.,have actively prepared for the possibility that Manhattan District Attorney CY VANCE could indict former President DONALD TRUMP while he's at Mar-a-Lago, according to two high-ranking county officials involved in planning sessions.
Among the topics discussed in those meetings: how to handle the thorny extradition issues that could arise if an indictment moves forward.
An obscure clause in Florida's statute on interstate extradition gives Gov. RON DESANTIS the ability to intervene and even investigate whether an indicted "person ought to be surrendered" to law enforcement officials from another state — which means that asMar-a-Lago prepares to close down for the season and Trump relocates to Bedminster, N.J., it isn't just the Florida heat he's leaving behind: He could lose a key piece of political protection.
"The statute leaves room for interpretation that the governor has the power to order a review and potentially not comply with the extradition notice," says JOE ABRUZZO, clerk of the Circuit Court of Palm Beach County, the official who would be in charge of opening a potential fugitive-at-large case.
One wrinkle to Abruzzo's potential role in all of this: He is a former close associate of President JOE BIDEN'S younger brother, FRANK. Abruzzo tells Playbook that despite his friendship with the Biden family, "the full extent of the law will be followed and carried out appropriately, without bias."
If an indictment comes down while Trump is in Bedminster for the summer, this could all play out very differently.New Jersey's extradition statute is similar to Florida's, giving the governor the power to investigate an out-of-state warrant. But its governor is Democrat PHIL MURPHY, who is no fan of Trump's, and would not likely intervene to stop Trump's extradition. 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.
With Trump settling down in New Jersey for the next few months, Florida is unlikely to have to sort through this any time soon. But the clock is ticking on the Manhattan D.A.'s investigation: On March 12, Vance said in a statement that he will retire at the end of 2021, and speculation abounds that his office — which is currently investigating whether Trump and his businesses committed banking and tax fraud, among other lines of inquiry — could issue indictments before passing the case along to his successor.
And that means that Palm Beach County may yet have to get involved— depending on whether Trump is indicted, of course, and whether that happens after Mar-a-Lago reopens in the fall.