OFFICIALS in Palm Springs are reportedly putting a secret plan in place to "surrender" Donald Trump to New York if he is indicted while living at Mar-a-Lago.
The former president is at the center of a probe by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office into whether he and his business committed banking and tax fraud.
Local law enforcement in Florida has become concerned that a decision on the case could be coming before the end of the year when the current DA Cyrus Vance is scheduled to retire.
Two high-ranking county officials told Politico that a contingency plan is being put in place amid fears over the ability of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a major Trump ally, to intervene.
According to the Florida laws surrounding interstate extradition, DeSantis has the ability to investigate whether a “person ought to be surrendered” before they are handed over to law enforcement officials in another state.
It means that if Trump is indicted while he is at his residence in Mar-a-Lago, the governor could opt not to surrender him 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,” Joe Abruzzo, clerk of the Circuit Court of Palm Beach County, told Politico.
Abruzzo is the person who would open a fugitive-at-large case on Trump if that were to happen.
His own involvement in the case has also raised other concerns as he was a former close associate of Joe Biden’s younger brother Frank.
He told Politico that despite the friendship, “the full extent of the law will be followed and carried out appropriately, without bias.”
Authorities in Palm Beach have held meetings to discuss what actions to take if Trump is protected by DeSantis.
For now, the former president has relocated for the summer to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the same extradition laws are in place.
However, New Jersey Democratic Government Phil Murphy has been an opponent of Trump and is unlikely to refuse a New York request to extradite him if the indictment comes before the Fall.
Trump’s lawyers can negotiate the conditions of his surrender no matter what state he is in if an indictment comes.
This would cut law enforcement out and leave Palm Beach officials with no fears of DeSantis intervention.
Trump left for his summer stay in New Jersey on Tuesday after spending the weekend in New York.
The former president spent the entirety of his two-day trip in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
He was seen leaving the building on Tuesday surrounded by secret service as he headed toward the New Jersey club, his fundraising base.
The Manhattan probe is examining whether the Trump Organization violated state laws with hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.
She was allegedly paid to keep quiet after claims of an affair with the real-estate mogul in 2006.
On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Vance had subpoenaed a Manhattan private school attended by the grandchildren of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.
The children's mother told the Journal that $500,000 of their tuition was paid for between 2012 and 2019 with checks signed by Weisselberg or Trump himself.
Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was also chairman of the school’s board.
Former prosecutors told the outlet that they believed the investigation is looking into whether the Weisselbergs evaded taxes with the tuition-payment arrangement.
The investigation has allegedly been seeking Allen Weisselberg’s cooperation for months but he remains loyal to Trump.
TRUMP PROBE RESULT PENDING
Vance has already subpoenaed eight years of tax and financial records from the ex-president.
Trump fought the subpoena to the Supreme Court, which rejected his claim of absolute immunity from state criminal investigations in July.
Vance has hired an outside forensic accounting firm to examine the returns,
Preet Bharara, the former head of the US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, claimed that this could indicate "there's a good likelihood of a [criminal] charge" against Trump.
Trump is also facing a separate tax fraud investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
James began her investigation after Cohen told Congress that the president would inflate and deflate asset values to save money on loans and reduce real estate taxes.
James deposed Eric Trump, the president’s son, in October and could possibly force Donald Trump as a former president to also sit for a deposition, Bloomberg reported.
Trump is facing yet another investigation by the Fulton County District Attorney's office in Georgia on alleged attempts to manipulate election results.
The Daily Beast reported in March that two grand juries are currently underway.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that the investigations are part of a major “witch hunt” mounted by his political foes.
Business Insider reports that he has expressed concern over several of the investigations into his financial dealings.
It is not known when Vance expects to come to a decision on whether to induct Trump but he is expected sooner rather than later after he announced his upcoming retirement in March.
The investigation had also allegedly become stagnant while Trump was in office.
"They mean business now," one source told The New Yorker.
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