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Could Donald Trump’s Move to Florida Land Him in Jail?

Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.

At the time of his first run for president in 2015, and for decades before that, Donald Trump was considered a New Yorker.

Born and raised in the city, Trump was a tabloid figure in New York for a long time, and at the time his political career began, Trump Tower was both his residence and his campaign headquarters. 

But in October of 2019, Trump formally switched his residence from New York to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. 

“1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House, is the place I have come to love and will stay for, hopefully, another 5 years as we MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, but my family and I will be making Palm Beach, Florida, our Permanent Residence,” Trump said on Twitter in 2019

“I cherish New York, and the people of New York, and always will, but unfortunately, despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse. I hated having to make this decision, but in the end it will be best for all concerned. As President, I will always be there to help New York and the great people of New York. It will always have a special place in my heart.”

“Good riddance,” New York’s then-governor, Andrew Cuomo, declared at the time. 

Donald Trump and Moving to Florida: A Problem? 

Now, according to one legal analysis, Trump’s decision to formally relocate to Florida may have made one of the current legal cases against him possible. 

Newsweek reported this week that with prosecutors once again looking into whether to charge Donald Trump in relation to the Stormy Daniels hush money investigation, “his move to Mar-a-Lago may give prosecutors an opening in the case.”

The New York Times reported earlier this week that the District Attorney’s office has begun to present evidence to a special grand jury in connection with a Trump-related case in New York. David Pecker, the longtime former publisher of the National Enquirer, was seen entering the building where the grand jury is meeting. 

Donald Trump, on Truth Social, has claimed that the case is “VERY OLD & happened a long time ago, long past the very publicly known & accepted deadline of the Statute of Limitations.” 

One legal expert told Newsweek that while the statute of limitations for such a crime in New York would normally be five years, “the statute of limitations doesn’t run when the defendant is continuously outside of the state.”

This has been the case, of course, with Donald Trump in Washington and elsewhere during his presidency, including in his new residency in Florida. 

“Bragg would have to use this tolling provision if he charges the former president and point to the time Trump was in the White House and Mar-a-Lago,” Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, told Newsweek of the Manhattan district attorney. “It still raises the question of why Bragg didn’t charge Trump earlier when Bragg took office, especially when Cohen pleaded guilty much earlier.”

Michael McAuliffe, another former federal prosecutor, also told Newsweek about the toiling provision. 

“The federal statutes relating to campaign finance violations generally have a five-year statute of limitations. As a result, the federal authorities might well face a legal barrier to charging Trump in 2023 for activities that ended in 2017,” the ex-prosecutor told the magazine.

“Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg and his prosecutors surely have reviewed the issue and concluded that the office can reactivate its investigation of Trump for those hush money payments with time remaining to charge him.”

Trump: Could He Be Heading to Jail This Time? 

How likely are charges to be filed in the case? 

“A conviction is not a sure thing, in part because a case could hinge on showing that Mr. Trump and his company falsified records to hide the payout from voters days before the 2016 election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory,” the Times said earlier this week. 

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Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.