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Ron DeSantis could block Trump’s extradition if he’s indicted by Manhattan district attorney

Under an obscure statute of Florida law, Governor Ron DeSantis could potentially investigate whether an indicted “person ought to be surrendered”

Nathan Place
New York
Thursday 13 May 2021 18:10 BST
Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, may have the authority to intervene if Donald Trump is indicted in New York
Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, may have the authority to intervene if Donald Trump is indicted in New York (AP)
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Governor Ron DeSantis could potentially block Donald Trump’s extradition to New York if he’s indicted by Manhattan’s district attorney, according to a new report by Politico.

Under a little-known clause in Florida law, the governor of the state has the authority to investigate whether a “person ought to be surrendered” to another state over an indictment. Mr DeSantis has long been a fiercely loyal ally of Mr Trump.

“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, the clerk at the Circuit Court of Palm Beach County, told Politico.

Palm Beach officials have recently been scrambling to draw up contingency plans in case Mr Trump is indicted while he’s still in Florida. The former president has been living at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, but plans to spend the summer at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. According to one report, by the Daily Mail, he’s already moved.

If Mr Trump is indicted while in Bedminster, Mr DeSantis will be unable to help him. New Jersey’s governor is the Democrat Phil Murphy, who is not among the former president’s fans. Though state law gives him similar authority over extraditions, Mr Murphy is unlikely to intervene on Mr Trump’s behalf.

Manhattan’s district attorney, Cyrus Vance, has been investigating Mr Trump’s finances since 2018. The DA has said he’s investigating “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct,” potentially including tax fraud, insurance fraud, and falsification of business records.

Mr Vance has gained access to millions of pages of Mr Trump’s tax returns and financial records, and has recently held many meetings with former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, which some observers see as a sign that indictments are coming soon.

The DA has also announced that he will retire at the end of this year. It is not clear whether he intends to issue indictments – if there are any – before he leaves office.

Mr Trump has not at this point been charged with any crime, and has called the investigation “a continuation of the greatest political witch hunt in the history of our country.”

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