The Case of the Golden Grifter — Chapter 2

The rock-jawed Sam Spade doppelganger, Agent S, is in a reflective mood. The Golden Grifter is on the move, leaving a trail of verbose inanities in his wake. Big dogs at the Justice Department are growling for Agent S and his faceless band of talented sleuths to help close in on the most dangerous man in the world.

Only the week before, hard-nosed U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland authorized the execution of a search warrant at the Grifter’s palatial home in posh Palm Beach, Fla.

Garland kept insisting nobody was above the law. Some fools just never get the message.

Ever since Jan. 6, the reserved Garland has been looking hard at Trump’s antics. In the meantime, the Golden Grifter morphed from unstable clown to dangerous traitor with a truckload of government secrets. Some of them are classified TS/SCI — top secret-compartmented. Why?

The word is the Grifter has government documents all over the place. The bureau’s first task is figuring out if he’s really got them. Twice, the Grifter’s lawyers assured the government they had it wrong. Apparently nobody buys it. Top-flight government investigators swear the documents are stashed in the narcissistic Golden Grifter’s ostentatious Florida flop house and eatery. Why not? Before it became center ring of a political circus, Mar-a-Lago was built for the Post Toastee heiress to entertain her wealthy friends there during the Roaring Twenties.

Agent S gets the nod. His gang has been in the game a long time. At first glance, Mar-a-Lago looks like a hard target. His first job is using a bonafide member’s confiscated ID to gain entrance into the marvelously insecure playhouse to look around. Uncle Sam uses a chauffeured limousine to drop him off at the front door. In his pocket is a wad of $100 dollar bills. In his valise is a rented tux and a specialty camera. His cover is being a low-key, wealthy businessman dying for a glimpse of Trump.

The place is decorated for shock and awe. Agent S momentarily feels outnumbered. His only weapon, a stinky five-dollar Cuban cigar. From the outside, the pink palace is definitely a swanky dump. Trump calls the color coral, but we all know it’s pink.

The ultra-rich and wannabes who flock there get pampered in gilded rooms starting at one G a night. For the fabulously wealthy there are $5G bungalows available. In the G-man’s trained eyes, it is obvious that a well-financed unfriendly country could send in a squad of spies to toss the dump and still get away.

It doesn’t take Agent S an hour at the bar to learn the clientele comes less for the ostentatious décor than for a personal hand pump and a picture with the fawning Grifter as he’s asking them for money. At the same time, Agent S is also keeping his eyes peeled, looking for secret documents laying out in the open on the Grifter’s ketchup-stained dinner table. But the table cloth is clean, Trump hadn’t been there.  

It isn’t hard to look around except where Trump actually lives, which is guarded by his Secret Service. No matter, there was already somebody watching there.

With the setting of the sun, it was time for Agent S to get to work. With a splash of Wild Turkey down his front and the nasty chewed cigar clenched in his jaw, he wanders off to see what he might find.

He watches multiple security cameras that are presumably watching him. Despite the spy eyes, nobody challenges him when he passes from the restaurant into an empty hallway leading to the alleged crime scenes. The joint had been a bootlegger’s haven, so it’s full of nooks and crannies to hide boxes of paper. His primary task is finding any secret doors and passages and photographing them.

Agent S wanders for several hours snapping pictures from his finger-sized Leica before a uniformed housekeeper finally asks him why he is in the basement laundry. He tells her he is looking for his room. A $100 bill satisfies her curiosity, and besides, he’s already discovered all he needs to know: this place is a soft target for spies.

After a hugely expensive night capped by briefly seeing the Grifter grifting, Agent S goes to his room. His gut tells him the Grifter’s girlie-pink abode is a perfect cover for him to consummate all manner of nefarious deeds.

Agent S and the other faceless men and women sworn to protect the Constitution go to work. Intel from Agent S and others fill out the matrix needed for a proper warrant to search Mar-A-Lago thoroughly. High-placed snitches have erased the last question marks. National Archives experts tell Garland exactly what was missing, and now they know where to find it. The artful dodger’s lies are failing him.  

Soon after the legal beagles painstakingly prepare an affidavit to show a federal magistrate why there is probable cause to believe essential evidence is inside the gilded joint, the bureau is ready to make its move.

It is a good search. They come away with 15 boxes of unsecured American secrets. Among them are 11 sets of top secret documents that should never have been there under any circumstances. If he’s convicted of violating one of those laws — 18 USC Section 2071, which bars the concealment, removal, or mutilation generally of government records — he could be disqualified from holding office again.

Despite the Grifter’s assertions to his own lawyers that the secret documents are his, they aren’t and never were. Worse, he knows it.

When the search warrant return was unsealed last Friday, it showed the list of potential crimes, including violations the Espionage Act, mishandling defense information and destruction of records.

Mishandling defense information is the easy one to prove. Proving the Grifter violated espionage laws will be a much harder. There hasn’t been a security scandal of this magnitude since America’s nuclear secrets were delivered to the former Soviet Union in 1949 by a quiet, unpretentious couple from New York City.  

For them, it didn’t turn out well. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for treason shortly after 8 p.m. in New York State’s Sing-Sing Prison on June 19, 1953. Julius died first. The first fifty-seven second jolt of electricity failed to kill Ethel. She was re-strapped to the chair and given two more jolts before being pronounced dead. Ethel was the first woman executed by the United States government since Mary Surratt was hanged for her role in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Agent S has known the story since his days at the academy and is unmoved. Being a traitor is tough business. So is catching them. Nobody knows how it’s going to turn out.


4 thoughts on “The Case of the Golden Grifter — Chapter 2

  1. being found guilty as a traitor to the United States, should be the same as the Rosenbergs got.. IT should NOT be a “he can’t ever run for public office” that’s a SLAP. Traitors that have 15-20 BOXES of US TOP SECRET AND SECRET documents they should NEVER have in their possession is HUGE. What’s to say that some/most were NOT photographed and already sent to Putin, Kim Il Young?????? Trump is and always has been a BUFFOON, and those two dictators KNOW how to deal with his overblown ego… trump thinks he’s PAL with them.. he’s not. PLEASE, take him down once the investigation is completed, PLEASE, for OUR (National) security and peace of mind, he MUST be in a cell for the rest of his life or executed like the Rosenbergs were for selling/giving secrets to the Russians.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ann. I had fun writing it. Big Perry Mason fan… and thank you for reading and commenting. There plenty of food for thought in that circus… saw today Trump called McConnell’s wife a crazy Chinese woman or something close… melting down.


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