The authority of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to delay former President Trump’s extradition to New York if he is criminally indicted in that state is “really nonexistent,” according to the Palm Beach County state attorney. DeSantis could delay the process, however.
In response to a question from Trump-obsessed CNN anchor Jim Acosta, Democrat Dave Aronberg denied that prosecutors in Florida and New York have discussed the potential extradition process should any criminal indictment occur.
Aronberg did acknowledge that local officials in Palm Beach County have engaged in “informal conversations,” particularly if the GOP governor “stands in the way” of sending Trump back to New York to face any potential charges.
For some time, the office of Manhattan Democrat District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., has been sifting through Trump’s financial affairs to try to find some alleged illegality to pin on the ex-POTUS. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Trump to submit his tax records to Vance’s office.
Vance is not seeking reelection for a fourth term, so if he finds or found anything improper that would trigger legal proceedings, it is expected to emerge before the end of this year.
“The governor’s power to stop an extradition is really nonexistent. He can try to delay it; he can send it to a committee and do research about it. But his role is really ministerial, and ultimately the state of New York can go to court and get an order to extradite the former president, but DeSantis could delay matters,” Aronberg, Palm Beach County’s top prosecutor, explained on “CNN Newsroom.”
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Aronberg repeated that extradition is a ministerial function, which more or less means that it ordinarily would be an automatic or routine administrative function.
“But, then again, I thought that when Congress counted the votes on January 6th, that would be ministerial too, and look what happened then, so you have to be prepared for anything,” Aronberg conceded.
The relevant law — which is not definitive but does seem to provide some latitude to short-circuit extradition — that DeSantis could theoretically rely upon is set forth in Florida Statutes Section 941.04, which reads as follows:
When a demand shall be made upon the Governor of this state by the executive authority of another state for the surrender of a person so charged with crime, the Governor may call upon the Department of Legal Affairs or any prosecuting officer in this state to investigate or assist in investigating the demand, and to report to him or her the situation and circumstances of the person so demanded, and whether the person ought to be surrendered.
Whether Gov. DeSantis would intervene in the legal process, assuming criminal charges ever emerge against Trump, is pure speculation.
The scenario could be entirely different if an indictment comes down while Trump is summering at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. Although a similar statute is on the books in the Garden State, it is highly unlikely that New Jersey’s Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy would try to block the extradition procedure.
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