As Donald Trump continues to face legal issues in a number of investigations, his one-time ally Ron DeSantis could also face legal scrutiny.
The Republican governor of Florida has been criticized by opponents and praised by supporters for a stunt in which some 50 migrants from Venezuela were sent from Texas to the affluent area of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
DeSantis said the move was meant to expose liberal and left-wing hypocrisy for criticizing Republicans who want to crack down on illegal immigration, without personally addressing the issue themselves.
California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom called on DeSantis, who allegedly sent the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretences, to face a “kidnapping” investigation.
Following the controversy surrounding the migrants’ arrival at Martha’s Vineyard, a number of social media users have suggested that now Trump and DeSantis – seen as the top two frontrunners for the GOP presidential bid in 2024 – are both doing the l subject of a criminal investigation.
“So now the two Republican favorites for POTUS in 2024 are under criminal investigation, Trump for a full-blown crime spree and DeSantis for fraud and migrant kidnapping,” tweeted linguist and lawyer Paula Chertok.
Florida-based attorney Aaron Parnas added“It’s official: The Republican Party’s top two 2024 presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, are now under criminal investigation.”
His tweet has garnered more than 75,000 interactions as of Tuesday, including 64,300 likes.
On Monday, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas announcement that he had launched an investigation into the incident involving the migrants taken from the state to Martha’s Vineyard.
In a statement, the sheriff’s office said it was looking into allegations that the Venezuelans were “drawn from the migrant resource center” in Bexar County, then flown to Florida, before “eventually being left to fend for themselves” at Martha’s Vineyard.
“Additionally, we are working with private attorneys representing victims, as well as advocacy organizations regarding this incident,” the department added. “We are also preparing to work with any federal agencies that have concurrent jurisdiction, should the need arise.”
At a press conference, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said if the migrants were taken to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretences, it would be considered a felony.
“If you think about what smugglers do, it’s not much different,” Wolff said.
The judge added that it is unclear whether those who recruited the migrants to board the planes from Texas were directly connected to DeSantis, but “if it turns out that things were done wrong, it could be held responsible. He instigated it”.
DeSantis insisted the migrants boarded the planes voluntarily, telling Fox News that all had “signed consent forms” to leave and received a “package containing a map of Martha’s Vineyard” and a phone number. telephone for immigration and refugee services.
The governor said his administration sent officials to Texas to identify migrants who planned to go to Florida, then offer them sanctuary elsewhere.
The money to fly the migrants came from the Florida state budget, of which $12 million was allocated to “facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens out of Florida”.
Trump also faces possible criminal charges in a number of investigations.
These include investigations related to January 6 and attempts to annul the 2020 election, allegations that the former president mishandled classified documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago compound. , then allegedly tried to obstruct federal agents’ attempt to retrieve them.
However, although the former president has hired Evan Corcoran, an attorney representing Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, and specializing in civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense, no criminal charges have yet been brought against him.
While the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office announced it had opened an investigation into the incident involving migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard, DeSantis has yet to be officially named in the still early investigation.
It remains to be determined whether a crime has been committed.
While Trump faces a number of criminal and civil investigations, and certainly figures prominently in them, the former president still has not been charged or charged.
FACT CHECK BY NEWSWEEK