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POLITICO: Palm Beach law enforcement preparing for a Trump indictment

Donald Trump
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Will former President Donald Trump be indicted and arrested at his Palm Beach estate? Well, according to POLITICO “Law enforcement officials in Palm Beach County, Fla., have actively prepared for the possibility that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance could indict former President 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 as Mar-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 Trump is indicted while he is in Bedminster for the summer, POLITICO reports that things 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, Phil Murphy, is Democrat who is not a Trump fan, and would likely not 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, according to POLITICO.

So where does the Manhattan D.A.’s investigation of Donald Trump stand? On March 12, Vance said he will retire at the end of 2021, and he is currently investigating whether Trump and his businesses committed banking and tax fraud, among other lines of inquiry. The clock is ticking on whether Vance could issue indictments before passing the case along to his successor.

Virus Outbreak Florida-Trump mar a lago
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

So, Palm Beach County may need to get involved if Trump is indicted after Mar-a-Lago reopens in the fall, according to POLITICO.