What Joseph Ziegler Didn’t Find When He Looked for Hunter Biden’s Sex Workers

Joseph Ziegler, the disgruntled IRS agent who built a tax case on the digital payments Hunter Biden made during the depth of his addiction, is quite proud that he found one of the sex workers who slept with Joe Biden’s son. He brought it up twice in his testimony.

First, he boasted that he sought out women he called prostitutes and impressed the prosecutors.

Yeah. So standard practice is — for any transaction, you want to go out — and a lot of our job is hitting the pavement, going out and talking to people. There was a lot of different investigative steps that we took, that even going and talking to the prostitutes, we found multiple people that he called his employees that were also prostitutes, and that he would have them clean his hotel room or — there were a lot of these interviews that we ended up going and doing and talking to people that were so worth it, even though someone might — we were always being told by the prosecutors, you guys are wasting your time going and doing that. It’s not worth it. And literally, I would surprise them every time and find everyone.

Though maybe Ziegler was speaking loosely when he called these women prostitutes. Later in his testimony, he admitted that he had been calling Lunden Roberts, a former stripper and the mother of Hunter’s fourth child, a prostitute.

Then, he complained that prosecutors had withheld the sex videos involving a “potential prostitute” they had interviewed — effectively confessing that he had looked online for things that would have tainted his testimony.

But there was other things — we went out and talked to one of the potential prostitutes. And there were videos that I’ve seen out there on Twitter, on the internet, and information related to that person that I had never seen before.

He — or rather, Homeland Security Investigations — did find at least one sex worker, though.

In the documents Ziegler released last September, he included two interview excerpts, one with Hunter’s accountant, Jeffrey Gelfound, and another with a sex worker whom he calls “Gulnora.” Ziegler explained the two show that Hunter wrote off a payment to Gulnora, who admitted she met with Hunter as an escort.

EXHIBIT 1F & 1G: This was a memorandum of interview of Jeffrey Gelfound, Edward White & Company tax accountant who assisted with the preparation of RHB’s delinquent tax returns, to include the RHB’s personal and corporate tax returns for 2017 and 2018. When discussing deductions on RHB’s tax returns, Gelfound was asked about whole dollar transfers to Gulnora. Gelfound was asked if RHB verified this as a business expense in which Gelfound stated “Yes, we put it on the returns so …”. EXHIBIT 1G was an interview report turned over to the investigative team as a part of the RHB investigation. I have included a redacted excerpt of that interview of an escort by the name of Gulnora that was conducted on or about April of 2021 in which she admits to meeting RHB relating to escort work.

Note the interview with Gelfound, not the one with “Gulnora,” appears to have been in April 2021; the “Gulnora” one appears to have taken place in June 2021. Close enough for IRS-CI work, I guess.

In the Gelfound interview, DOJ Tax Prosecutor Mark Daly actually asks the accountant about two Venmo payments, one for $1,500 and another for $2,700.

DOJ-Tax Daly: [redacted] there is a series of large whole dollar transfers to something called Gulnora?

Jeffrey Gelfound: OK.

DOJ-Tax Daly: Do you know what that is?

Jeffrey Gelfound: I-I don’t.

DOJ-Tax Daly: OK – But Hunter verified to you that that was a business expense?

Jeffrey Gelfound: Yes, we put it on the returns so …

DOJ-Tax Daly: OK, um, there’s a series of Venmo transfers, large dollar ones, for example, [redacted]

Jeffrey Gelfound: OK.

DOJ-Tax Daly: On August 14th there’s a $1500 expense and on September 4th there’s a $2700 expense.

The $1,500 expense appears to be the one mentioned in the tax indictment, which I wrote about here. That payment was the first obvious charge on Hunter’s Venmo account after two new devices were added to Hunter’s Venmo account in two different cities. It appears to have happened a day earlier than described in the indictment (and than described in this interview, which will be admissible for impeachment at trial). To prove that Hunter intentionally wrote this off improperly, prosecutors will need to prove not just that Hunter — as opposed to the people who accessed his Venmo account days before this — made the payment, that Hunter, rather than the dancer, listed the payment as Art, and that he remembered all that in 2020.

And while the $2,700 payment doesn’t obviously appear in the indictment, it’s yet more proof of how problematic relying on payments Hunter made to sex workers will be for prosecutors (there are plenty of other payments they would have an easier time proving were improper write-offs, though).

The Venmo described as a September 4 payment appears to have been made on August 30, 2018. If that’s correct, then it was paid to a woman who was paid at least three times in two days, probably four. In addition to the $2,700 Venmo payment (shown in pink in the timeline below), she was paid a total of $1,800, via two payments, on Zelle. Then she was entered as a wire transfer recipient in Hunter’s Wells Fargo account, immediately after which someone was transferred $4,000. Those payments are shown in red on the timeline.

The three different methods of payment (from at least two bank accounts and a Visa debit card) are suspect enough.

They happened in a period when Hunter’s life was in remarkable turmoil, even by his standards. On Sunday, August 26, he left his bank card in an ATM machine. The next day, Monday, he either lost his phone or someone used the Lost Phone function to track Hunter as he moved across Venice, CA and ultimately to the AirBNB in the Hollywood Hills where he was staying for two nights. The next day, Tuesday, after he left the AirBNB, he discovered he had left a bag there. Ultimately the owner gave the bag to an Uber driver (but there’s no obvious Uber payment showing that Hunter got the bag back). The next day, Wednesday, Hunter either spent two hours trying to get onto Venmo; or someone spent hours trying to break into his account. Also that day, Hunter’s contact information for Wells Fargo was changed; it looks like Wells Fargo had two separate numbers ending in 9396 for him. That night appears to be when he first interacted with the sex worker the IRS calls Gulnora, because he paid her at close to 4AM. Consistent with what she told HSI 34 months later, they met again the next night, Thursday. He paid her via Zelle at 9:50PM, via Venmo at 11:04PM, and then probably via wire transfer at 6:41AM. Later that day, just after 7PM on August 31, Hunter would buy a new MacBook Pro using two credit cards; this is believed to be the laptop that would eventually end up in Fox News pundit Keith Ablow’s possession. Two and a half hours later, Hunter made an Account Recovery request to Apple (using a different phone number than the one(s) recently added to his Wells Fargo account), and the next day, Saturday, September 1, he started accessing his accounts from the new device. This was one of only two Apple Account Recovery attempts recorded in the publicly available emails, and unless he lost a laptop at the AirBNB, it’s not clear what device had been compromised (though he had lost an iPad earlier in August).

But that’s not all. The $4,000 wire transfer made in the same minute the sex worker was made a wire transfer recipient occurred immediately after something that also frequently occurred on Hunter’s Wells Fargo account: a reset of access after a suspected compromise.

On at least 36 occasions in 2017 and 2018 — and three times (marked in blue in the timeline) in the period in which this payment was made to a woman the IRS is calling Gulnora — Wells Fargo suspended his access because it suspected someone else was trying to access his account, which required him to change his password before he could access it. Most often, the password got changed and Face ID, allowing anyone with access to Hunter’s face or perhaps his fingerprint, would be turned back on. Probably, many if not most of those were not someone else trying to access the account; they were probably just Hunter trying to access the account, in ways that looked suspect. But the result is that he almost certainly repeatedly accessed his bank account while in the presence of a dealer or a sex worker awaiting payment, watching that he reset his password and then turned on Face ID. This would alert them that they could access Hunter’s account by using his face (or fingerprint), either of which would be accessible to them when he was wasted. As a result, like that Venmo payment made earlier in August, law enforcement wanting to prove that Hunter made a particular payment would need a whole lot of evidence about the circumstances of payment, to rule out someone else paying him or herself.

And unless someone interviewed the woman they call Gulnora (who was paid under a Russian last name) a second time, they didn’t get that evidence from her.

As it was, just two pages of nine in the interview pertained to Hunter Biden. The interview appears to have focused on how she became involved in an escort network run on Telegram. She claimed she only took two jobs with the madam who arranged the meeting with Joe Biden’s son — the two dates with Hunter, and one more, with a guy she called “John.” Though later in the interview she described interacting with the madam face to face once and with people she worked with on multiple “occasions,” which sounds like more than two clients (especially since, by description, Hunter called her directly to arrange the second date).  The woman wasn’t sure what website he would have used to contact the madam. She was not asked the dates of the trysts.

What she did describe is that she had some uncertainty about the ID Hunter used to verify his identity, because it was not a California Driver’s License. That’s what led Hunter to explain who his father was, after which the woman the IRS calls Gulnora “became afraid.” But then, when she returned to her apartment, a friend provided her more information.

After [Gulnora] left the location, she arrived back at her apartment and told her friend who she was just with. [Gulnora] stated that her friend told her “you have no idea who you’re dealing with.” [Gulnora] stated that she deleted [redacted] number.

So by the time she went back that second day — to be paid $1,200 via Zelle at 9:50 and then $2,700 at 11:04 in the first Venmo payment after whatever had happened with Hunter’s Venmo account days earlier, probably followed by $4,000 the next morning — she did know who she was dealing with.

One more thing about the payments to this woman. Someone attempted to wire her $100 from Hunter’s account on February 27, 2019, in between the time when Hunter’s digital identity was packed up on a laptop and the day when that laptop would walk into a computer repair shop in Wilmington. That payment failed.

I don’t doubt that the sex worker did meet Joe Biden’s son. But there are no less than six possible identity compromises in the days leading up to their meetings. The very same day she was probably paid a fourth time in two days, Hunter Biden attempted to reclaim his digital identity.

It’s not just that prosecutors would have a difficult time proving that Hunter made these payments. It’s that they decided that turning them into a tax felony was the appropriate response to six possible identity compromises of the former Vice President’s son in one week.

Timeline

August 26 at 12:16PM: DroidHunter added to Apple account.

August 26 at 4:16PM: Hunter reserves AirBNB.

August 26 at 4:34PM: Hunter withdrew $800 from an ATM but left the card.

August 26 at 7:24PM: Hunter arrives AirBNB.

August 27 at 1:40AM: Hunter added a new Zelle recipient and then, a minute later, sent him $750. Two hours later, at 3:40 AM Hunter sent another $750.

August 27 at 4:13AM: Wells Fargo suspended his online access. Eight minutes later, Hunter’s password was reset, Face ID was turned back on, a new recipient was added, and $2,000 was transferred to that new recipient.

August 27 at 11:15PM: A sound was played on iPhone.

August 27 at 11:18PM: Hunter’s phone put into Lost Mode.

August 27 at 11:18PM: Apple Pay was suspended on his phone.

August 27 at 11:18PM: iPhone found in Venice, CA.

August 28 at 1:41AM: Wells Fargo suspended his online access. Seven minutes later, Hunter’s password was set, Face ID was turned back on.

August 28 at 9:25AM: iPhone found 11 minute walk away in Venice.

August 28 at 9:30AM: iPhone found 20 minute walk away in Venice.

August 28 at 10:42AM: iPhone found 9 minute walk away in Venice.

August 28 at 11:17AM: iPhone found 26 minute walk away in Venice.

August 28 at 11:35AM: iPhone found 13 minute drive away in LA.

August 28 at 11:53AM: iPhone found 11 minute drive away in LA.

August 28 at 12:11PM: iPhone found 4 minute drive away at AirBNB where Hunter was staying.

August 28 at 5:04PM: Apple Pay was reactivated to a device called “ChatMa.”

August 28 at 5:04PM: A sound was played on iPhone.

August 28 at 10:08PM: Hunter informs AirBNB owner he left a bag there.

August 28 at 11:54PM: AirBNB owner arranges to drop bag off with Uber driver.

August 29 at 2:00AM: Face ID turned on for Wells Fargo (possibly a different account?).

August 29 at 2:13AM: $2,000 requested on Venmo (probably associated with attempt to rent a place).

August 29 at 2:14AM: Please verify your email address on Venmo.

August 29 at 2:15AM: Please verify your email address on Venmo.

August 29 at 2:18AM: Please verify your email address on Venmo.

August 29 at 4:27AM: Please verify your email address on Venmo.

August 29 at 9:23AM: A new recipient, OA, added to Zelle.

August 29 at 9:36AM: A device is registered with Wells Fargo.

August 29 at 9:37AM: $600 sent to OA.

August 29 at 9:43AM: Updated contact info for Wells Fargo (seemingly two numbers ending in 9396); Hunter had at least one other number at the time.

August 30 at 3:57AM: EK added to Zelle.

August 30 at 3:58AM: $600 sent via Zelle to EK from 4605.

August 30 at 4;45PM: $750 sent to Naomi Biden from 5858.

August 30 at 4:46PM: $750 sent to Roberta Biden from 5142.

August 30 at 4:46PM: $1000 sent to IS from 5858.

August 30 at 9:50PM: $1,200 sent via Zelle to EK from 5858.

August 30 at 11:04PM: $2,700 sent via Venmo to EK.

August 30 at 11:33PM: Wells Fargo suspends access.

August 31 at 6:03AM: Hunter’s password was reset. 

August 31 at 6:34AM: Face ID turned on for Wells Fargo.

August 31 at 6:41AM: EK added as wire transfer recipient.

August 31 at 6:41AM: $4,000 transferred from 5858.

August 31 at 7:04PM: Ablow laptop purchased, using two credit cards, at Best Buy.

August 31 at 9:36PM: Apple account recovery request.

September 1 at 10:29AM: Password change.

September 1 at 10:34AM: Sign into MacBook Pro.

September 1 at 10:42AM: Sign into iCloud from browser.

September 1 at 4:24PM: Sign into DroidHunter.

September 1 at 4:27PM: KD added as wire transfer recipient.

September 1 at 4:28PM: $10,000 to be transferred on September 4 from 5142.

September 1 at 9:36PM: Call or text from Apple alerting him his Account Recovery was available due.

September 2 at 5:00AM: Hide2Vault downloaded to new Mac.

September 2 at 6:15AM: Sign into Rosemont Seneca.

February 27, 2019: Attempted $100 Zelle payment to EK.

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47 replies
  1. WilliamOckham says:

    Wait… Is sending a photo of your ID to escort services a thing? Has no one ever heard of opsec?

    Great, now there’s a whole set of occurrences that I wrote off as “stupid sex scandals” that I now have to file as “potentially serious breaches of operational security”. Yes, US Secret Service, I’m looking at you.

    • emptywheel says:

      You’ll note she DIDN’T have the real name of the other guy.

      But yeah, it’s important for escorts to be able to do some vetting. Otherwise they can get killed.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        Oh, I understand it makes perfect sense from their perspective. It really does make me reevaluate the way other “scandals” were handled.

    • Shadowalker says:

      Why would the USSS be involved? By statute, Vice Presidents lose that protection 6 months after leaving office, in addition only children below the age of 16 retain USSS protection after their parents are no longer in office (both President and Vice President). Since the time period in question is well after former Vice President Biden had lost that protection and well before he became the official Democrat party nominee for President (not sure if protection would cover Hunter, at least not till his father became President Elect).

      • J. H. Frank says:

        From context, I believe they’re referring to the various other sex work-related Secret Service scandals.

        • Shadowalker says:

          I saw Op-sec and assumed it was about one of the more than 4,000 imaginary crimes Hunter committed. There was this narrative being pushed that the USSS act as babysitters for their assigned protectees, and Hunter had a detail assigned to him during that time period. They really have a problem understanding how the time of the event is crucial.

  2. OldTulsaDude says:

    It is likely meaningless but Ziegler’s insistence in uncovering “prostitutes” makes him seem more a religious fanatic engaged in a holy crusade than an investigator for the IRS.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There’s no evidence religion plays into this. As Mike Stone observes, Ziegler was laser focused on playing up the most embarrassing behavior, not the allegedly most criminal or easiest to prove. That makes this a political hit job.

      • emptywheel says:

        Oh, I think he worked through everything. He was sure he was going to get Hunter on Burisma, until IRS figured out that Devon Archer had paid taxes on the funds that IRS thought Hunter hadn’t paid on.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Earl, I thought of you and bmaz the moment I saw this book:

        Surely You Can’t Be Serious: The True Story of Airplane! Hardcover – October 3, 2023
        by David Zucker (Author), Jim Abrahams (Author), Jerry Zucker (Author), the three directors behind the 1980 hit “Airplane!, a look at the making of the movie.

  3. Mike Stone says:

    Great analysis. The key takeaway for me is that Ziegler and others at the IRS were entirely focused on the sex worker payments that have a number of problems for use in prosecution, while ignoring other more provable issues. That alone means that this was a political hit job meant to embarrass HB and JB rather than investigate a crime.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      Indeed, like the Weiner case was as much about getting HRC via Huma Abedin was another hit job. There are literally thousands of other examples involving GOP operatives and wannabes.

      I suspect the appropriate question is who let these dogs out? Defendant-1, Steve Bannon, Rudy or Roger Stone, or… operating in the ‘boss wants this done’ mode?

      • RipNoLonger says:

        On your list of possible perps, Dependsit-1 and Giuliani don’t seem to have the mental chops to be in charge of anything other than flushing. Stone seems like an aged groupie who can fck things up well.

        Bannon appears to have connections to more of the subterranean money flows and to the overseas funders.

  4. Sussex Trafalgar says:

    It appears Joseph Ziegler, a “disgruntled IRS agent,” has a serious case of titillating fetish infatuations of Hunter Biden.

    I’d say Ziegler missed his true calling by not becoming a bouncer or book keeper in one of the various Nevada “ranches.”

    Ziegler is a waste of taxpayer money.

    • wa_rickf says:

      Having read Ziegler’s background in The Advocate, my first instinct is: Someone has a man-crush. Having a man-crush would pique interest into delving into the object of one’s affection/curiosity further – a deeper dive as it were.

  5. CaptMike says:

    Wells Fargo showing two numbers ending in -9396 does not necessarily imply two different phone numbers. You can get the same result by listing one phone number as “home” and the same number again as “mobile”.

  6. zscoreUSA says:

    Happy New Year

    Questions

    1) What would precipitate HSI participation? As opposed to IRS, DOJ, FBI

    2) Why would there be 2 9396 numbers? I have looked into this area quite a bit to track which device is which and I just see 1 number. There might be a quirk in Wells Fargo notifications where the same number or address is listed twice, or 1 mobile and 1 primary phone field, or 5 different phone numbers listed or one case where the same address multiple times

    3) Why are you certain that the 8/31 laptop is the Ablow laptop? Hunter owned multiple laptops besides the Ablow one, per the Dimitrelos Report, and also per Beautiful Things which Hunter describes having a laptop in May 2019, which his new fiance/wife forced him to turn off and ignore as part of detoxing

    4) Also, the 8/31 laptop is most likely a 2018 model with Touch Bar, as the 2017 Touch Bar has been discontinued. The 2017 No Touch Bar still on the market, as evidenced by the Mac Isaac laptop. From what I have seen online, 2018 and 2017 look indistinguishable, same dimensions and weight, I wonder if a Mac expert could tell apart, since Hunter does provide a picture of the Ablow laptop
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacBook_Pro_(Intel-based)
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hunter-biden-laptop-photo/
    2018 MacBookPro: https://support.apple.com/kb/SP775?locale=en_US
    2017 MacBookPro: https://support.apple.com/kb/SP754?locale=en_US

    • CaptMike says:

      Re: 2) 2 -9396 phone numbers
      See my comment above.
      Wells Fargo requires a mobile number, and up to three optional numbers.
      If you give them an optional ‘home’ number and use the same number as your mobile number, what is shown is exactly the result you’ll get in contact info, 2FA requests, etc.
      It is still possible he could have two different phone numbers with the same last four digits, but quite unlikely, especially since the two identical number scenario is quite common.
      And it’s not just Wells Fargo’s system that works this way. It’s pretty common.

      • emptywheel says:

        The second number likely comes from the device registered 7 minutes earlier, which is probably the “ChatMa” phone. It wouldn’t be that Hunter added the number, it would be that WF noticed that Hunter added it.

        As I noted, that’s NOT the phone that Hunter would get his account recovery to 2 days later.

        One reason I noted this is because if that ChatMa was not his own phone, someone could use a set number, choosing to end in 9396, as part of the means to takeover Hunter’s devices. The madam Gulnora worked with, eg, used TextFree to communicate. Hunter also used a service whereby you could set your own number.

        His Apple account was set to a 96 number exclusively when the laptop was packed up, and DroidHunter (I believe this was the first it was added to his Apple account at all) was part of the packing.

        I should add, I don’t include the WF second number as one of the six potential compromises. I counted the 3 WF suspensions, the Venmo registration, the lost phone, and whatever led to the account recovery (which could be the lost bag). So I’m also not counting things like the lost ATM card (which the ATM machine appears to have eaten as soon as Hunter didn’t take it with him).

        • P J Evans says:

          I forgot to take an ATM card out of the machine at the branch office of my credit union. They take the “lost” cards out and you can get them back a day or so later. Don’t know if the big banks do that, though.

          • chocolateislove says:

            When the ATM ate my card at my large bank branch, I was told it would be almost a week before the card could be returned. According to the branch personnel, that ATM was only accessed when the weekly money re-stock happened. Obviously I don’t know if this is standard procedure for this particular bank or all big banks. Or if it was just a way to get me to leave them alone because they didn’t want to deal with the hassle of opening the ATM.

    • emptywheel says:

      The Dimetrelos report is wildly unreliable on that front. He equates “registered to Hunter’s account” with “owned by Hunter” which is not assured. I’m not even 100% that Hunter owned the FBI laptop, as unlike the September 1 one, there’s no receipt and no welcome from Apple.

    • emptywheel says:

      Re: HSI. I suspect she was interviewed as part of a sex and maybe cocaine trafficking investigation. If, for example, the escort network includes visa provision or organized crime ties, HSI might have the lead. They often have the lead on cases for anything that transits borders.

  7. Molly Pitcher says:

    To paraphrase Bette Davis ” Buckle your seatbelts it is going to be a bumpy year”.

    Happy New Year to all. I feel like we are waiting for a lot of shoes to drop on several subjects. I hope Abbe Lowell slices and dices the prosecution for HB.

    • earthworm says:

      which is why i appreciated the comment from a prior thread:
      “Having recently reread Rick Atkinson’s depiction of the Battle of the Bulge, I will share the following. Eisenhower called his battle commanders to a conference in Verdun three days after the German surprise attack. He began the meeting by stating “The present situation is to be regarded as one of opportunity for us and not for disaster.” “There will be only cheerful faces at this conference table.” “

      • BobBobCon says:

        Eisenhower also said (borrowing from others before him) “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

        It’s a nice response to people who insist that because the future is unknowable, all we can do now is be paralyzed. The opposite is true — because the future is unknowable, the smart move is to do our best to be prepared.

        • Rayne says:

          “No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the main enemy forces. Only the layman believes that in the course of a campaign he sees the consistent implementation of an original thought that has been considered in advance in every detail and retained to the end.”
          — Helmuth von Moltke

          This op-ed does a nice job examining what von Moltke really meant: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/06/30/military-strategy-lessons-for-unpredictable-times/?sh=185a565361ac — planning should not be limited to what appears obvious but to other possibilities.

          • Harry Eagar says:

            Supposedly, US military doctrine is based on ‘what the foe is capable of’ rather than ‘what I think makes most sense for the foe to do,’ although I question whether doctrine meets real life.

            The more I read Emptywheel, the more I wonder, well, just how did that work? As Henry Howell, sometime lieutenant governor of Virginia, liked to say, There’s more things going around in the dark than Santa Claus.

        • Orestes Secundus says:

          In our training (and operations) we always had to have four plans by following PACE:
          Primary
          Alternate
          Contingency
          Emergency (aka the go-to-shit plan)
          Grid coordinates memorised, routes memorised, rally points memorised, landing zones and extraction zones memorised – for all four plans.
          Only once did we make it to the Emergency plan. During the invasion of Panama, all of our landing zones were compromised by campesinos or kids: they knew we were there.
          But yes, planning is everything.

           
          [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username and email address each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You used a different email address on this comment than the one you used on your first known comment; this caused your comment to be held up in moderation. Thanks. /~Rayne]

          • Orestes Secundus says:

            Ironic, just as I was speaking about memorising things, I forgot which email I use here – age catches up. Hopefully this one is the right one, thanks Rayne.

            [Moderator’s note: This is the address you’d used before, thanks much. /~Rayne]

  8. FL Resister says:

    More weirdness from Republican BSers out to get Democrats.
    Because they have no real platform, they are obsessed with taking the other side down.
    I am just grateful we have Marcy to dissect this mishigas with Hunter Biden, and that he has stayed clean throughout this humiliating and embarrassing ordeal.
    So glad he has a trench fighter like Abbie Lowell on his side, too.
    Happy New Year 2024 to everyone at Emptywheel—a beacon for truth, justice, and the American way. Hurrah!

  9. Zinsky123 says:

    This is an incredible timeline – thank you! Also, what a shitshow of activity in Hunter Biden’s life (pardon the vulgarity)! That short time period from August 26th through September 2nd were just a whirlwind of confusion, mishaps. errors and outright fraud, it seems. It’s amazing you can at least piece together a small segment of his tragic life and show that he has been manipulated in ways that he might not even understand. Again, EW is doing the work of an independent research firm for free. Thank you for your insights!

    • RipNoLonger says:

      Echoing your thanks to EW and other contributors.

      I’m not sure a paid-for “independent research firm” would ever be as trustworthy or accepted as some of the supposedly non-partisan (but paid) sources.

  10. lastoneawake says:

    “. . . that even going and talking to the prostitutes, we found multiple people that he called his employees that were also prostitutes . . .”

    Yeah, because sex workers are well-known for providing incriminating information about customers to strangers —for free—, and self-identitying as prostitutes, when it is often an arrestable crime.

    I’m sure he’ll later claim he “needed to” arrange a transaction with them, just to verify their truthfulness . . .

  11. e.a. foster says:

    This man uses the term, “potential prostitute”. Has anyone asked him
    what that means. Like is that something like a potential IRS workers, a potential lawyer, potential doctor. His use of the word, “prostitue” indicates to me, he isn’t quite with it and today’s language or has a problem with people who are sex workers.

    This is almost like a comedy. They have the guy on trial because he might have fudged his income tax by writing off as a business expense payments to an alleged sex worker. Why spend all that money, time and effort. In Canada, you would most likely receive a fine, a requirement to repay the new assessment and the fine. Message received by errant taxpayer, government gets money, all go home happy or sort of.

    why the American Revenue agency would spend all this time and money on something so trivial is beyond my comprehension, well except to make life difficult for the sitting President of the U.S.A. Perhaps it is time these people find something more productive to do, like check the taxes of gang leaders, drug cartels, land lords who don’t keep up their properties, parents who say they can’t afford to pay their child support while driving a $100K vehicle, etc.

    Thank you for this post. demonstrates some people just don’t have enough to do

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  12. HikaakiH says:

    I have a question for the local legal eagles: Can an IRS investigator (or any other government official acting as an investigator for that matter) be guilty of ‘misprision of a felony’ if they observe serious criminal conduct and do nothing about it because they are only interested in other things going on in the vicinity of that crime?
    In other words, did Ziegler (and others) at IRS not have an affirmative duty to report to an appropriate investigating authority (FBI?) the apparent identity theft attempts they observed?

    • Buzzkill Stickinthemud says:

      Ziegler could always claim he wasn’t trained to identify hacking or identity theft activities. However, as part of his career advancement he took the multiple course offering of government classes, “Hitting the Pavement to Interview Sex Workers I, II, and III”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Untrained he may be, but being hit in the face with a probable federal crime should lead a reasonably competent federal investigator to call the right colleagues to look into it. He didn’t; he probably saw it as easy access to what he was interested in. The guy should not be a federal employee.

  13. morganism says:

    What is the obsession of the GOP types to find and attack an individual to portray an entire class of other as dirty? Attacking mythical Dems when their own clergy is grooming their kids?

    As RFR’s Stone and Rove are the epitome of this, is it ultimately what the Cambride Analytical pysch OP focused on as a strategy?
    And still seeing those same techniques in play everytime TFG looks for someone to personally attack. They always seek a name, then paint all the perceived enemies in that brush. It might be the one major personality trait the CA crew ended up finding as the easiest to manipulate. Is this the same demographic that started with daytime attack shows, and is now served with daytime judge shows?
    Is this why republicans are so obsessed with celebs for office? A celeb they can show loyalty to?
    What about Swifties and Kpop then?

    I read the book by the CA whistleblower, and the links to the Mercers, Vos and the rest.
    And still am flummoxed by this behavior.

    • Rayne says:

      The celebs-as-electeds, IMO, is a facet of the authoritarian mindset. Of course the celebrities they’ll laud are those they’ve imbued with authority; the entire fucking The Apprentice TV series was a means to do that to Trump who otherwise would have looked like a schlubby lifelong golf-cheating scofflaw.

      Schwarzenegger was another good example so long as he hewed close to conservative values; his movies made him look like a power god, the kind of figure they can respect.

      They’ll focus on taking down targets on the left which do not match their idea of authority, ex. a Black woman academic is everything they really don’t trust. This is why Condi Rice could be a VP but she’d never successfully helm a ticket.

  14. Desidero says:

    So how much of these details were known when the judge nixed the plea agreement? (I think Ziegler testimony came later? Rudy’s direct secret spigot came out recently..)
    What’s judge or jury supposed to be convinced of in all this, and would they convict?
    Does this all seem like Johnny Depp + Amber Heard-level dysfunction without the star power?

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