Newly unveiled documents have revealed the tense back-and-forth between lawyers for Hunter Biden and the Department of Justice (DOJ), including a threat from the defense team to call the president to the witness stand.
Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, has been the subject of a long-term investigation by the DOJ, mostly relating to his fraught tax history. In June, it was announced that a plea deal had been reached by both parties, which would have seen the president’s son plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges for not paying his income taxes on time, with a charge of unlawfully owning a firearm as a drug abuser still in play.
The deal fell apart a month later, however, after U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika took issue with the broad immunities that the deal would have granted Hunter Biden in the future. He ultimately pleaded not guilty, and all parties were forced back to the drawing board to work out a new deal or see the case move to a trial.
On Saturday, Politico reported on over 300 pages of previously undisclosed emails and documents pertaining to the tense negotiations between Hunter Biden’s defense team and DOJ prosecutors. In one particular exchange highlighted extensively in the report, attorney Christopher Clark threatened to call the president to the stand for his son’s defense should charges be brought to trial.
“President Biden now unquestionably would be a fact witness for the defense in any criminal trial,” Clark wrote in a 32-page letter, later adding, “This of all cases justifies neither the spectacle of a sitting President testifying at a criminal trial nor the potential for a resulting Constitutional crisis.”
The legal team suggested “constitutional chaos” would ensue if the president was called to testify against a case brought by his own DOJ, something they further said was not justified by the substance of the case. The defense team accused prosecutors of being influenced by pressure from congressional Republicans, who have long positioned Hunter Biden’s woes as a major scandal undermining his father’s political agenda. They also argued that bringing tax charges against their client would be “devastating to the reputation” of the DOJ, and would give it the appearance of playing to the demands of former President Donald Trump.
The case against Hunter Biden may now be headed to trial, which could take place in the midst of the 2024 presidential election, in which President Biden will be seeking reelection to a second term. Clark has since departed the defense team because he could be called as a witness in future proceedings about the collapse of the plea agreement he had helped broker.
Newsweek reached out to the White House via email for comment.