The David Weiss and Leo Wise Inconsistencies Left Out of Hunter Biden Arraignment Coverage

In testimony given to the House Judiciary Committee on November 7, 2023, David Weiss told Steve Castor and then Jim Jordan that the investigation into Hunter Biden was continuing, even after the plea deal filed on June 20 (here’s Politico’s coverage).

Q One of the big questions I think a lot of our members have is that, as of last July, you know, heading into July 26th, you know, we saw the plea agreement and the pre-trial diversion agreement; you know, we thought this matter was coming to a close, and then it didn’t.

How do you address the fact that this was on the verge of being completely over and wrapped up on July 26th and then, boom, in August, you have to request Special Counsel status, now you’re standing up a whole new office, and we’ve got an investigation that could go on for some time?

A Yeah. I understand the question and the members’ curiosity.

Q Uh-huh.

A Because I’ve got ongoing litigation in Delaware, I’m not at liberty to discuss it. But —

Q Uh-huh.

A — I can say that at no time was it coming to a close. I think, as I stated in the one statement I made at the time —

Q Uh-huh.

A — the investigation was continuing. So it wasn’t ending there in any event.

Chairman Jordan. When the judge would’ve accepted the agreement, it wasn’t over?

Mr. Weiss. Our efforts were not concluded; that’s correct.

According to a declaration, made under penalty of perjury, submitted last month by former Hunter Biden attorney Chris Clark, that Weiss claim — made under penalty of prosecution — conflicts with what Weiss’ First AUSA Shannon Hanson told him on June 19, 2023.

35. On June 19, 2023, at 2:53 PM EST, after I had a phone call with AUSA Hanson indicating I would do so, I emailed AUSA Hanson a proposed press statement to accompany the public release of both Informations that read, in part, “I can confirm that the five-year long, extensive federal investigation into my client, Hunter Biden, has been concluded through agreements with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware.” (Emphases added.) A true and correct copy of Chris Clark’s June 19, 2023, email to AUSA Hanson is attached hereto as Exhibit P.

36. Shortly after that email, I had another phone call with AUSA Hanson, during which AUSA Hanson requested that the language of Mr. Biden’s press statement be slightly revised. She proposed saying that the investigation would be “resolved” rather than “concluded.” I then asked her directly whether there was any other open or pending investigation of Mr. Biden overseen by the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, and she responded there was not another open or pending investigation. Thereafter, at 4:18 PM EST that day, I sent AUSA Hanson a revised statement that read: “With the announcement of two agreements between my client, Hunter Biden, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, it is my understanding that the five-year investigation into Hunter is resolved.” (Emphases added.) The new statement revised the language from “concluded” to “resolved,” a stylistic change that meant the same thing. A true and correct copy of Chris Clark’s June 19, 2023, email to AUSA Hanson is attached hereto as Exhibit Q [Clark’s italics, my bold]

I’ve seen no coverage of Hunter Biden’s arraignment from yesterday — not the decent stories from NYT and ABC and not the typically shoddy story from WaPo — that mentions this discrepancy. And yet even though most stories on the arraignment described that the plea deal fell apart last July, none reported that Clark claims Weiss’ office assured Hunter there was no ongoing investigation on June 19 but then claimed on June 20 that there was an ongoing investigation.

This is absolutely crucial background to ABC’s report of how the plea deal was discussed yesterday.

The parties also again discussed the failed plea deal that led to the tax indictment last month. At one point during the 30-minute hearing, an attorney for Hunter Biden stood to express frustration with the plea deal falling apart, saying “we had a resolution of this case in 2023 and then things happened.”

The government pushed back, saying: “pleas fall apart all the time.”

Plea deals fall apart all the time. But government lawyers do not tell defendants one thing in June and then tell members of Congress something entirely different in November, as Hunter’s team alleges occurred.

And there’s another discrepancy in what prosecutors are saying, something that underscores the ethical problem with the tax indictment against Hunter (and the shoddy reporting of many outlets, including WaPo).

On July 26, 2023, Leo Wise stood as an officer of the court and made this representation to Judge Maryanne Noreika.

Approximately a year-and-a-half later, on or about October 18th, 2021, a third party paid the Internal Revenue Service $955,800 to cover Biden’s self-assessed individual tax liability with interest and penalties for tax year 2017 and $956,632 to cover Biden’s self-assessed individual tax liability with interest and penalties for tax  year 2018.

In addition, in or around February of 2020, Biden’s California accountants discovered that Biden’s 2016 Form 1040 had not been filed. The return was originally prepared in or around October 2017 and showed $15,520 in taxes due and owing. Though it was delivered to Biden at Biden’s office, this return was not filed with the Internal Revenue Service. After learning in 2020 that the Form 1040 for 2016 remained unfiled, Biden filed a Form 1040 on June 12, 2020. For tax year 2016, Biden reported $1,580,283 12 in total income and self-assessed tax due of $492,895, of which $447,234 was timely paid, leaving a balance due and owing of $45,661. Biden did not include a payment with this return. On or about October 18, 2021, this liability, plus accrued interest and penalties, was also fully paid by a third party.

Finally, after seeking an extension, Biden timely filed his 2019 Form 1040 on or about October 15th, 2020. He did not, however, pay his estimated tax due when filing for an extension as required by law. For tax year 2019, Biden reported $1,045,850 in total income and a self-assessed tax due and owing of $197,372. On October 18, 2021, this liability, plus accrued interest and penalties, was also fully paid by the same third party

[snip]

THE COURT: All right. In Exhibit 1, there are references to taxes paid by a third party on Mr. Biden’s behalf of $955,800, and $956,632, as well as $492,000 in 2016 and $197,000 for 2019. Just looking at 2017 and 2018 which are the subject of this case, those numbers add up to more than $1.9 million. Can you help me square that with the relevant conduct.

MR. WISE: So the amount that was paid by the third party includes significant penalties and interests which we have not included in the loss stipulation that’s in paragraph 5A. The paragraph 5A is the taxes and there is a dispute as to what the taxes were based on the business deductions and that’s something that the parties will address in their sentencing memorandum, but this number is loss without inclusion of the penalties and interest.

Nevertheless, the indictment signed by Leo Wise obtained on December 7 doesn’t mention that the taxes were paid.

Indeed, there’s no record that the grand jury ever learned that, while there’s still a dispute about 2018, the taxes have been paid, with penalties and interest.

This is what led dull-witted scribes like Devlin Barrett to state, as fact, that prosecutors alleged that Hunter failed to pay his taxes, even though their own stories claim to know what happened in July, when that very same prosecutor said Hunter did pay the taxes.

Federal prosecutors alleged in a 56-page indictment filed last month that Hunter Biden, who moved to Los Angeles in 2018, failed to pay at least $1.4 million in federal taxes from 2016 through 2019. The charges include failing to file and pay taxes, tax evasion and filing false tax returns. Three of the charges are felonies and six are misdemeanors.

And it also lies at the core of the debate over whether anyone normally would be charged for such a fact set. Which is why the conflict between what Leo Wise said in July and what Leo Wise said in December should be a central part of the story.

In June, at least according to Chris Clark, David Weiss’ top AUSA said there was no ongoing investigation. In November, under pressure from Congress, David Weiss said there was.

In July, Leo Wise said that (aside from the dispute about 2018), the taxes have been paid, with interest. In December, Leo Wise told a grand jury — along with credulous journalists — they had not been.

One cannot report, with certainty, on what has happened until you account for those two incompatible claims from Hunter Biden’s prosecutors. One cannot make any claims about how this will end up until one determines whether David Weiss lied to Congress or Chris Clark lied in his sworn declaration.

And yet none of that appeared in the arraignment coverage yesterday.

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22 replies
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  2. kpavlovic says:

    I never expect for the Post or Barrett to get it right. But I am really wondering if Wise is really as stupid as he’s pretending to be and what he is really trying to do here.

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        ….except that he and Weiss are driving this over an apparent cliff, no? They have bullseyes on their backs that say “Demonstrably Selective Prosecution,” it seems to me. Even the venues suck for them, I think.

        Their main function going forward, in the big picture, is that they’ll be proving the idiocy of the Biden-prosecution-fetish (which includes Joe’s impending impeachment) in court — if it even gets that far.

        I think the Congressional Hunter shit is headed off the same cliff. I’d donate to a Hunter defense fund for when they contest the House contempt charges (if Comer has the “balls,” that is, lol). Discovery will produce a documentary of MAGA post-closed-hearing spin-sessions they’ve orchestrated which can be compared to the actual transcripts. They’ve already said that Devon Archer is their best witness! They’ll be utterly unredacted!

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Even those classic dickish prosecutors don’t usually want their cases blown up by smart defense lawyers at trial. Wise (and certainly Weiss) could have foreseen the public attention this would bring, and they are acting like local DAs without a dedicated hometown paper to watch them.

  3. Rugger_9 says:

    Wouldn’t this all come to light during the trial, followed by motions to dismiss? Regarding the ‘plea deals fall apart all the time’ reference, it is clear that government lawyers do file with forked tongues as well, but should not be ‘allowed’ to. However, given that cops have SCOTUS’ blessing to lie during interrogations I’m not holding my breath for ethical conduct by a lawyer clearly ‘under orders’.

  4. Upisdown says:

    The most infuriating part of WaPo’s shoddy reporting was this nugget from the article by Barrett and Stein:

    “(Hunter Biden) also received another $1.2 million in 2020 and spent the money to fund an “extravagant lifestyle,” including drugs, escorts and girlfriends, exotic cars and clothing, the indictment alleges.”

    I immediately called attention to it in the comment section, but the article still remains unchanged. They should file a correction with an apology. Not to mention provide details of how Hunter turned himself around in 2019 with the help of his bride, Melissa. That article is inexcusable rubbish from a once respected news source.

    • Dark Phoenix says:

      Looks to me like someone over there is trying to pull the same date-fudging techniques Rudy attempted with the Burisma stuff; push Hunter’s drug rehab period forward a couple of years so it doesn’t line up with the laptop situation… Because it’s decidedly inconvenient that Hunter’s drug rehab (which involved loss of net access and access to his accounts) lines up with a period where a bunch of access attempts were made on his personal accounts.

  5. Cosmo Lecat says:

    Abbe Lowell has sent a letter explaining that the subpoena for which Hunter B was held in contempt is a nullity because it was issued at a time before an impeachment inquiry committee was formally authorized.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      “Nullity” perfectly discribes this nonetheless full-on, ubiquitous magatastrophe to a tee. It’s as if there’s a self-selective pandemic of magalepsy going down in the form of collective brain paralyses, indicating that we’re heading to a Magapocalypse which will inevitably result in Magageddon — hopefully just for the volunteer victims of that scourge.

      Today Trump was screaming, ranting, to signal the end of final arguments in his massive NY civil fraud trial, and doing so at the top of his lungs, literally; “unhinged” doesn’t quite nail it. This, delectably, is their savior.

      Someone should compare that trial to Jesus in front of Pontius Pilate. I wonder who’s the Barabbas analog, and whether Melania, in fact, is the off-stage Magadalen projecting thought-waves with her perfectly impervious pout (which Acolyte Habba can only futilely aspire to).

      Let that become a QAnon meme~!

        • CaptainCondorcet says:

          Only if TFG wins. Expect 4 more years of this screeching, from whatever perch they’re granted by the voters, if Biden wins again. Hell, expect the same from the cult faithful if a different GOP candidate wins the primary and then takes the White House.

        • Shadowalker says:

          More like December 2024, they were going after Hillary over Uranium One in 2018 and held the last hearing on the matter in the final days before dems took over, they also impeached Bill in the lame duck session after almost losing the House in the midterms.

          You would have thought they would have learned by now.

          • HikaakiH says:

            No chance they’ll change their ways until their credulous audience learns to ignore their dog and pony shows. So, like I said, no chance at all.

  6. e.a. foster says:

    It all boggles the mind. With all the problems facing the American public, you’d think the House of Representatives would have better things to do. But then as they go on with their dog and pony show, it does destract the base. Watched a video of MTG in committee when H. Biden and his lawyer got up and left. The woman doesn’t make any sense and comes across as bat shit crazy.
    Giving two versions of the events usually gets some one in trouble.
    We have had a few “crazy” politicians in Canada over the decades, but nothing close to MTG.
    When I was younger there was a line, “any one can grow up to be President of the U.S.A.”. Well that did not turn out well. We could add and anyone can get elected to the House of Representatives.

    • David Brooks says:

      When I was still living in England, and Ronald Reagan came to the throne, a radio satirical programme presented a fake C&W song that included the memorable line: “Land of opportunity / Where the dumbest country kid / Can wind up being President / And, sadly, this time, did.”

      Applies even more so to Congress.

    • Dark Phoenix says:

      Right now we need to worry about Puppet Pierre, because he would simply do whatever Stephen Harper and the IDC told him to do as Prime Minister, and the IDC is trying to brownnose with Putin and Orban.

  7. thisguyknowsnothing says:

    why are all of the prosecutor’s statements, filings, and timelines of hunter biden’s tax payments out of order ? the prosecutor talks about things happening in 2021, then the next paragraph 2020, then 2016/2020. but next sentence is back to 2019/2020 taxes.

    i’ve read a few of the briefs and attachments in this case and its all like this. even the summaries of payments made are jumbled up, timewise.

    i’ve never seen a criminal prosecution timeline so obfuscated. look at the vast conspiracy trump indictment. with dozens of defendants and actions under RICO in GA. its pretty much in order from A to B to C to D.

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