Legal experts weigh in on Trump's potential 'flight risk' if he faces charges after leaving office

Legal experts weigh in on Trump's potential 'flight risk' if he faces charges after leaving office
President Donald J. Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office of the White House Wednesday evening, March 11, 2020, on the country's expanded response against the global Coronavirus outbreak. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

With less than one week left in the White House, President Donald Trump is just days away from his entire world changing overnight. His presidential pardon powers will be gone along with the prosecutorial protections his presidency has afforded him. However, for many legal experts, that does not change the fact that Trump could still pose a flight risk.

An editorial published by The Washington Times highlights how Trump's affluent lifestyle could enable him to become a flight risk if he is faced with criminal charges in the coming weeks.

The publication noted that "Trump's real estate empire extends to multiple luxury properties in countries that don't have extradition treaties with the United States. And Mr. Trump himself publicly mused in October that he'd leave the country if he lost to Democrat Joseph R. Biden."

Attorney Douglas McNabb also outlined the many advantages Trump has to flee in an effort to avoid facing consequences for his actions. "He's got money. He's got property. He's got access," Mr. McNabb said. "The government would argue that he's a flight risk."

With the disturbing series of events that transpired last week, there are growing calls for charges to be brought against Trump. Prior to the riots at the U.S. Captiol, Trump was already at the center of multiple investigations for tax fraud, tax evasion, and even sexual misconduct.

But, with all of the international real estate the president owns, legal experts fear he may never be held accountable if he flees. The publication also highlights that Trump "could flee to any number of properties he owns around the world." To make makers worse, Trump also "owns a luxury hotel and tower in the United Arab Emirates and an unfinished hotel project in Azerbaija" and it is important to note that neither country has extradition treaties in place with the United States.

Retired Brig. Gen. Peter Zwack also noted the difficulties the U.S. could face in prosecuting Trump if he fled to Scotland or Ireland.

"He's not going back to New York and he is not going to enjoy the comfort at Mar-a-Lago he would have in the pre-Capitol-ransacking world," Zwack said. "I'll bet the feasibility of fleeing has come up because, in my mind, it is the only way to avoid instant accountability and reckoning."

McNabb also touched on the possible scenario overseas countries could be faced with if an arrest warrant were issued for Trump while he was out of the country. "The Secret Service would have to step back, but it would be an interesting situation," Mr. McNabb said. "If they continued to protect President Trump that would make them part of a conspiracy to prevent a criminal defendant from returning to the United States."

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