The Coke-in-Gun Actually Harms David Weiss’ Case

As prosecutors are wont to do, David Weiss’ prosecution team used its response to Hunter Biden’s selective and vindictive prosecution claim to air embarrassing dirt.

As dick pic sniffing scribes are wont to do, most outlets glommed onto those details — one in particular — rather than discussing Weiss’ legal arguments. NYPost, CNN, AP, WaPo all presented the following detail without any consideration of whether it helps — or hurts — David Weiss’ case against Hunter.

In 2023, FBI investigators pulled sealed evidence from the state police vault to take photographs of the defendant’s firearm. After opening the evidence, FBI investigators observed a white powdery substance on the defendant’s brown leather pouch that had held the defendant’s firearm in October 2018. Based on their training and experience, investigators believed that this substance was likely cocaine and that this evidence would corroborate the messages that investigators had obtained which showed the defendant buying and using drugs in October 2018. An FBI chemist subsequently analyzed the residue and determined that it was cocaine. To be clear, investigators literally found drugs on the pouch where the defendant had kept his gun.

At the very least, the incident betrays the lack of certain kinds of evidence that Weiss may need to defeat the filing in question — and arguably, helps to prove Hunter’s argument that Weiss only considered gun charges after Republicans started ratcheting up political pressure to do so.

As noted, this is a response to Hunter’s motion to dismiss on selective and vindictive prosecution grounds, in which he argued that:

  • DOJ would not charge other people based on the same set of facts — and indeed had guidelines advising against it
  • In response to political pressure, including but not limited to Republican Members of Congress and Trump, David Weiss reneged on a plea deal and decided to charge Hunter with three felonies rather than respect a diversion agreement
  • Congress forced this issue by demanding Weiss prosecute more harshly

Weiss’ response — written by Derek Hines, the same AUSA who simply did not address some of the evidence of politicization Hunter cited — spent over half the filing addressing Hunter’s selective prosecution claim, in spite of the fact that that’s the easiest claim to rebut. He simply repeated, as all such responses do, that Hunter hasn’t found someone similarly situated who wasn’t charged (the argument surely invites Abbe Lowell to raise Don Jr’s apparent impairment or Trump’s temporary possession of a gun after having been charged with dozens of felonies). There are weaknesses in that section — he ignores DOJ’s guidance, rather than addressing Hunter’s assertion that the charge is used in conjunction with other crimes, he instead uses data on straw purchases (which this was not) to claim Hunter’s lie was itself an aggravating factor.

With this chart, Hines is, at best, misleadingly presenting Hunter’s alleged false statement as a different, far more premeditated false statement than Hunter is accused of.

Abbe Lowell will have plenty of meat to respond to in that section, but as I have said repeatedly, Hunter probably doesn’t offer as much as he’d need to to win a selective prosecution claim.

A vindictive prosecution claim is something else. Hines admits that Hunter describes a right he exercised that was the reason for the vindictive prosecution, but complains that merely being the sole surviving son of Donald Trump’s opponent is not a constitutionally protected right.

The defendant does not attempt to show causal linkage between a legal right exercised by him and his prosecution. In his motion, the defendant appears generally to identify one legal right that he claims he exercised which he alleges caused his indictment: “engaging in constitutionally protected speech and political activity.” ECF 63 at 49. But he fails to identify with any specificity what his constitutionally protected speech or his political activity was. For example, he does not contend that he made a public political statement, nor does he identify which statement caused prosecutors to have animus. His failure to identify facts that support any actual legal right that he exercised should prevent this court from moving forward to even analyze his vindictive prosecution claim because no court has recognized a derivative vindictive prosecution claim based on a family member’s exercise of rights. [emphasis original]

Hines pretty much lies about how much Weiss ratcheted up the potential punishment against Hunter, which is the proof that prosecutors took vindictive action against Hunter for exercising his rights.

What Hines does not do — not in the least — is address Lowell’s map of how, as political pressure from Republicans ratcheted up, David Weiss reneged on the specific terms in a plea agreement. The latest communication from the ones submitted to the record that he cites was dated May 23, 2023, before the political pressure started ratcheting up.

For example, in an email to defense counsel dated May 18, 2023, about “a potential nontrial resolution,” Document 60-6 at p. 2, the AUSA stated, “As I said during our call, the below list is preliminary in nature and subject to change. We have not discussed or obtained approval for these terms, but are presenting them in an attempt to advance our discussions about a potential non-trial resolution . . .” The following week, in an email to defense counsel dated May 23, 2023, Document 60-9 at p. 3, the AUSA stated, “As we indicated in our emails and discussions we did not have approval for a pre-trial diversion agreement. As you know, that authority rests with the US Attorney who ultimately did not approve continued discussions for diversion related to the tax charges.” [emphasis original]

Hines ignores that, according to Chris Clark’s declaration and a great deal of back-up submitted with it, David Weiss was personally involved in language crafted two weeks after that May 23 email.

Later that afternoon, on June 6, 2023, I spoke directly with U.S. Attorney Weiss. During that call, I conveyed to U.S. Attorney Weiss that the Agreement’s immunity provision must ensure Mr. Biden that there would be finality and closure of this investigation, as I had conveyed repeatedly to AUSA Wolf during our negotiations. I further conveyed to U.S. Attorney Weiss that this provision was a deal-breaker. I noted that U.S. Attorney Weiss had changed the deal several times heretofore, and that I simply could not have this issue be yet another one which Mr. Biden had to compromise. The U.S. Attorney asked me what the problem was with the proposed language, and I explained that the immunity provision must protect Mr. Biden from any future prosecution by a new U.S. Attorney in a different administration. The U.S. Attorney considered the proposal and stated that he would get back to me promptly.

29. Later that same evening on June 6, 2023, at or around 5:47 PM EST, AUSA Wolf emailed me proposed language for the immunity provision that read: “How about this- The United States agrees not to criminally prosecute Biden, outside of the terms of this Agreement, for any federal crimes encompassed by the attached Statement of Facts (Attachment A) and the Statement of Facts attached as Exhibit 1 to the Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed this same day.” (Emphasis in original.) After speaking with Mr. Biden, I responded to AUSA Wolf that the language she sent me “works” and is suitable for Mr. Biden as well, at which point the Parties had a deal. A true and correct and correct copy of AUSA Wolf’s June 6, 2023, email to Chris Clark is attached hereto as Exhibit K.

30. On June 7, 2023, AUSA Wolf emailed me a revised draft of the Diversion Agreement that incorporated the language she had proposed in her June 6 email to me. In that draft, the revised Paragraph 15 provided that “The United States agrees not to criminally prosecute Biden, outside of the terms of this Agreement, for any federal crimes encompassed by the attached Statement of Facts (Attachment A) and the Statement of Facts attached as Exhibit 1 to the Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed this same day.” (Emphasis added.) A true and correct copy of AUSA Wolf’s June 7, 2023, email and redlined Diversion Agreement to Chris Clark is attached hereto as Exhibit L. [emphasis original]

That is, as late as June 6 — the day before that the pressure on Weiss started to publicly ratchet up — David Weiss had personally sanctioned a misdemeanor plea with a gun diversion. That was long after, importantly, the agreement to treat the gun charges via diversion.

That is, Derek Hines simply doesn’t address the abundant evidence that Weiss reneged on a commitment he had personally committed to after coming under political pressure.

As I have laid out, normally these kinds of vindictive prosecution claims are almost as easy to rebut as selective prosecution claims. I described what you might expect in a case arguing that a prosecutor decided to ratchet up charges in response to improper influence: Some kind of language addressing what changed to justify ratcheting up the charges.

You can see how this works in the case of Hatchet Speed, based on facts — involving felony gun charges in one district and the addition of a felony charge to a misdemeanor in another — not dissimilar from Hunter’s case. On January 6, Speed was an NRO contractor with TS/SCI clearance and a Naval reservist still training at Andrews Air Force Base. He had ties to the Proud Boys and expressed a fondness for Hitler. He went on a $50,000 weapon buying spree after January 6, including devices that — prosecutors successfully argued in a second trial — qualified as silencers under federal law. He was charged for unregistered silencers in EDVA and, at first, misdemeanor trespassing charges for his actions on January 6. Between the time his first EDVA trial ended in mistrial and a guilty verdict in his retrial, DOJ added a felony obstruction charge in DC, which his excellent FPD attorneys argued was retaliation for the mistrial. But DOJ responded with an explanation of the process leading to the addition of the felony obstruction charge: they added a second prosecutor, got better at prosecuting obstruction for January 6, found some more damning video of Speed at the Capitol, and came to recognize how Speed’s comments about the attack would prove the corrupt intent required for obstruction charges. They were pretty honest that they regarded Speed as a dangerous dude that they wanted to put away, too.

The same process might well happen if Lowell files a vindictive prosecution claim. Under Goodwin, Weiss might have to do little more than say there was a societal interest in jailing Hunter Biden to affirm the import of the gun laws his father continues to champion.

Normally, prosecutors simply point to some evidence obtained after an initial prosecution decision that changed prosecutors mind about charging.

But Hines doesn’t assert to have any of that in this filing!! Not even the argument I expected — that it’s important that Joe Biden’s kid be subject to the same gun laws that his father champions with everyone else.

What he has (as noted by the timeline below) are a series of dates — including for the discovery of the cocaine residue in the pouch — that Hines obscures.

Rather than a specific explanation of what changed to merit the three gun felonies instead of a diversion, there’s this patently dishonest claim about when the prosecution got evidence in this case.

First, the defendant claims, “DOJ obtained the facts underlying this case years ago and was satisfied the case did not warrant prosecution.” ECF 63 at 50. This is inaccurate. Many of the incriminating facts were discovered years after the conduct when prosecutors had received the defendant’s Apple messages and when the defendant released his incriminating book. There is no evidence that the DOJ decided that this case did not warrant prosecution “years ago.”

The thing about investigations into events that happened five years ago is that prosecutors can have obtained evidence “years ago” that they nevertheless obtained “years after” the alleged crime. Hines is playing word games: The indictment relies heavily on Hunter’s 272-page book, which had been out over two years before David Weiss personally blessed a diversion for the charges.

What prosecutors don’t say — what they would have to say to explain how new evidence led them to change their minds about charging — is that they obtained that evidence between the day David Weiss blessed a diversion agreement — well before June 6 — and the date he decided to charge felonies that Hines argues, while reserving the right to ask for a bunch of enhancements, expose Hunter to 15-21 months’ imprisonment.

Instead, Derek Hines hides what date prosecutors obtained that coke residue evidence. If I’m right that the warrant to search Hunter’s iCloud content was obtained in December — after indicting this crime — then it would be the opposite of proof (again, I’ve asked Weiss’ office for clarity on this point, because I can’t believe they’d only obtain that warrant after indicting). But that is consistent with the discovery motion that described the first batch of discovery only amounted to 350 pages of evidence (which, if it included the whole book would only include 78 additional pages of evidence).

On October 12, 2023, the government provided to the defendant a production of materials consisting of over 350 pages of documents as well as additional electronic evidence from the defendant’s Apple iCloud account and a copy of data from the defendant’s laptop. This production included search warrants related to evidence the government may use in its case-inchief in the gun case, statements of the defendant including his admissions that he was addicted to crack cocaine and possessed a firearm in 2018, and law enforcement reports related to the gun investigation.

More importantly is what this motion doesn’t say. First of all, in spite of falsely treating Hunter’s false statement as if it were a straw purchase to claim an aggravating factor, it provides zero evidence that Hunter had the intent of deceiving on that form. It provides evidence, instead, that Hunter was paranoid and trying to find a way to protect himself and totally out of his mind, the opposite of what you need to prove a willful lie.

Worse still, what the motion literally shows is the reverse of what Hines’ dick-wag in the paragraph all the dick pic sniffers have picked up on. Yes, “to be clear, investigators literally found drugs on the pouch where the defendant had kept his gun.” That impressed the hell out of the dick pic sniffers. But to be clearer, investigators literally didn’t look for drug residue on the gun until five years, possibly longer, after law enforcement seized the gun. 

Even if that drug residue had been found between July 26 and September 14, it’d still be proof that prosecutors never took basic steps towards charging gun crimes until after Republicans brought their heat. If it happened before June 20 in 2023, it’d be even further proof that that Devlin Barrett story did what it was designed to do: to politicize this case. If it happened in December, then it’s a sign of real negligence and dishonesty.

Whatever it is, it proved more useful for impressing the dick pic sniffers than it will in defeating Hunter’s vindictive prosecution claim.

Update: Weiss’ spox declines to comment beyond the court filings.

Update: Fixed the grammar in vindictive action.

Timeline

October 2018: The gun, ammunition, and speed loader were placed in evidence

August 2019: The tax and foreign influence peddling iCloud warrant Weiss claims to be relying on obtained

December 2019: When Weiss obtained the laptop, but he doesn’t provide the exact date or discuss the provenance problems of it

August 2020: An iCloud warrant, probably the fruit of the laptop and almost definitely also limited to tax and influence peddling crimes, that Weiss mentions in a footnote but doesn’t acknowledge in the text

April 6, 2021: Publication date of Hunter’s book, which specific date Weiss does not include in the filing.

March 2022: Prosecutors first inform Chris Clark they are considering gun charges.

October 6, 2022: Politicized leak to Devlin Barrett designed to pressure David Weiss into charging gun charges.

October 31, 2022: Chris Clark notes that prosecutors didn’t tell him of potential gun crimes until March 2022.

Since December 2020, nearly all of our meetings, phone calls, and correspondence with your Office have related to the Government’s investigation of Mr. Biden for possible tax offenses. It was not until a phone call in March 2022—over a year into our cooperative dialogue—that your Office disclosed a potential investigation of Mr. Biden for possible firearms offenses (the “Firearm Investigation”).

September 14, 2023: Weiss obtains gun indictment just before speedy trial clock expires.

ND: Prosecutors obtain a warrant, listed as 23-507M, to “to search the defendant’s electronic evidence for evidence of federal firearms violations and to seize such data.” The filing does not provide a date for this warrant, but 23-mj-504 was an arrest warrant obtained on November 30 and 23-mj-508 was an arrest warrant obtained on December 4, 2023. I have asked Weiss’ office for clarification on whether this warrant could possibly have been obtained in December, almost three months after the indictment.

ND: Sometime in 2023, date not given, but by description after the gun-related warrant, prosecutors access the gun that has been in storage for over 5 years and “notice” it has cocaine residue on it, which is when they first sent it for FBI analysis.

image_print
48 replies
  1. EW Moderation Team says:

    A reminder to all new and existing community members participating in comments:
    — We have been moving to a new minimum standard to support community security over the last year. Usernames should be unique and a minimum of a minimum of 8 letters.

    — We do not require a valid, working email, but you must use the same email address each time you publish a comment here. **Single use disposable email addresses do not meet this standard.**

    — If you have been commenting here but have less than 1000 comments published and been participating less than 10 years as of last October 2022, you must update your username to match the new standard.

    Thank you.

  2. Upisdown says:

    That was my immediate reaction. I had no recollection of the investigation announcement including anything about a possible gun charge. It seems like they make stuff up as they go along and hope the public has a short memory.

  3. Harry Eagar says:

    Again, I despair at getting hoi polloi to follow the plot. It is difficult enough to read it at leisure and keep everything straight.

    Also, pet peeve, Copspeak: white powdery substance.

    • Rwood0808 says:

      I have to agree. I’ve made the decision to not follow the HB distraction case just as I have the documents case. Neither of which will amount to much of anything, especially with Cannon’s latest ruling.

      If Smith takes some steps to counter Cannon I’ll reevaluate, but for now, as much as I’d like to, the time-suck is simply too much.

  4. Rugger_9 says:

    I know EW has noted that if the Weiss evidence is allowed in as charged, it could be a stronger case. Lowell hasn’t had his shot at taking the case apart and as meticulously shown by EW, there are gaping holes to exploit including ones created by SC Weiss’ team by themselves.

    HB is fortunate that he is able (one way or another) to afford this support. Most people who have gone on the journey he took would be in a double-wide in KY by now and would have pled out. But we are also fortunate in our ability to see from this case just how hypocritically immoral the GOP is willing to be to get power.

    Will HB get justice from the courtier press on a defamation rap? I think it’s doubtful because the editors will always be able to point to Weiss’ SC filings as a foundation for their reporting even before the ‘public figure’ exemption is claimed.

    • Rayne says:

      HB may be lucky he can afford the legal representation he has, but he’s also unlucky because most of this drama has been about the family to which he belongs and not realistic charges prosecuted by a special counsel, with dogged crappy coverage by the servants-of-fascist-owners press.

      This has **all** a set up to target Biden — and I don’t mean just Hunter — going back to the first time Burisma was mentioned by any Biden. Christopher Heinz saw it coming, after all, back in 2014. And yet the press just keep eating up the influence operation like so many Pac-Man figures trapped in a maze gobbling up pellets without questioning why the pellets keep appearing so conveniently inside their path.

      Like yesterday’s and today’s convenient pellets laid just as the E. Jean Carroll suit ramps up. Just eat the pellets, media, don’t look around. Don’t look up.

      • Sussex Trafalgar says:

        Exactly! This is quintessential Putin/KGB best practice method of winning the the hearts and minds of gullible citizens—capture the press first and the press will help
        you capture the citizenry.

        Putin’s organized crime syndicate has been working hard in the USA.

  5. Error Prone says:

    How is cocaine on the holster relevant? Has possession of cocaine been charged? Is there a statute making it a crime to possess cocaine and a firearm at the same time, beyond unlawful possession of the drug itself? The indictment charges lying about drug use status at the time of applying, not during a brief possessory period when there appears no indication the firearm was ever used or kept other than holstered.

    Last, a detail, did you mean vindictive action rather than “vindication” writing, “Hines pretty much lies about how much Weiss ratcheted up the potential punishment against Hunter, which is the proof that prosecutors took vindication on Hunter for exercising his rights.”

    • Rayne says:

      How many of us have cocaine on the currency in our wallets RTFN? Or currency we’ve had in our possession for years?

      • Rugger_9 says:

        Unless there is an actual amount, and the custody over the years was completely controlled (yeah, right) and traceability to HB is complete it’s not important. It’s a shiny object at best.

        To Rayne’s point, a study done years ago referenced by NIH showed 79% had 0.1 microgram and 54% had at least 1.0 microgram. No patterns (i.e. it is everywhere) were seen in contamination. The Journal of Analytical Toxicology published this in 1996.

        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8835657/

        • P J Evans says:

          The response to the news about the “white powdery substance” over at the bird hellsite was pretty much “how is this relevant to the case?” And “So? He hasn’t hidden that he was an addict.”

      • timbozone says:

        IANAL but…

        The cocaine accusation has no legal legs whatsoever IMO. It seems like it’s selective, after the fact, suddenly discovered evidence just before SoL runs out. It’s just more rw nut job dirty tricks crap within a reasonable doubt. A good lawyer is very likely going to make mincemeat of “suddenly, cocaine!” entering the case almost five years after the gun was put in the evidence locker.

  6. Error Prone says:

    Apology. p.16 of OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR SELECTIVE AND VINDICTIVE PROSECUTION, count 3 indicates possession while a user is a separate crime. So the cocaine on the holster is relevant.

    • Shadowalker says:

      Relevant if it was charged 5 years ago. This also points out a weakness the prosecution (and they are aware) has in the case, i.e. proof beyond doubt that Hunter was on drugs at the exact moment when he signed that form.

  7. Ginevra diBenci says:

    If this were a crime drama, the fact of those FBI agents (which office?) suddenly “observing” that “white powdery substance” on a gun holder held in “sealed evidence” would be seized on by defense counsel as suspicious as hell. Because it is–not because it’s inconceivable that Hunter could’ve transferred powder cocaine to leather when he was using; it would be surprising if he hadn’t.

    What is galling about this, and should be for anyone who’s ever felt like the justice system was stacked against them, is that sudden discovery (some vague time) in 2023. No one noticed it before? Or no one sent the FBI hunting for trace amounts of cocaine just so the finding could be released on Fox News?

    • BrokenPromises says:

      As a former investigative photographer for a major US police dept I can assure you that the FBI has a paper record of exact date the gun was photographed in 2023 and that they have a digital copy indeed copies of as well as the original images captured whether as raw, jpeg tiff or other. For Hines to put this into his motion he has to have received a report from both the photographers and scientific investigator who tested for cocaine. He knows the exact date all of it occurred. For him to leave that off appears for all intents and purposes to be deliberate so as to mislead the judge.

      Hunter was charged with falsifying a form in the purchase of a firearm. The actual firearm will appear on the form and as evidence no juror actually needs to see a picture of the weapon. They do need to see copies or images of the forms and the statute. So then what is the motivation to have the gun photographed by the FBI at this late date? Did the state police destroy the photographs they took when they collected the weapon? Our department often shared images with other agencies involved and of course local prosecutors and on to defense via discovery.

      What I find most galling is that they went to the trouble of putting this in the motion particularly in the face of the revelation by Marcy that Hunter’s girlfriend threw the gun in a dumpster. Hello? What is the chain of custody from this last person to handle the gun until admission as evidence?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It’s theater. Physical objects are more informative to a fact finder than a picture or mere description. They can also, as was probably intended here, persuade them of things for which there isn’t really any proof. This jerk left out context that’s damning for his case, which I imagine HB’s lawyers will happily provide. But imagine how a less well-heeled defendant would contend with this chicanery.

      • emptywheel says:

        I think they have a strong chance of convicting on one or several of the charges, if they get to trial.

        This is just playing to the dick pic sniffers.

        I suspect both sides are more worried about LA, in which case this is just a dry run for the same motions to be filed there. In which case the coke residue doesn’t matter. It’s just a way to stall such time as people begin to look closely.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      Hunter’s team could demand a chemical analysis of the coke they found on the gun to see if it matches any coke he’s ever been busted with (if so, net zero), as well as anything in the storage facility where the gun was kept for that time period?

      “It’s a provenance bust, it’s a put on!”
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfrUQA2tb6M

      • Baltimark says:

        Very likely the sole appearance of “provenance” in US Top 40 lyrics; nice.

        Face Dances and It’s Hard aren’t great albums but they still hold some great tunes. I’m just a little younger than many folks here (I’ll be 59 in a few days) so I didn’t see them until ’82. One felt the absence of Moon and Roger’s New Wavy haircut was a jolt, but it was still a real tour supporting a legit album and in soul and power if not virtuosity, Pete’s work was miles and miles beyond what I’d just seen Eddie doing a few weeks prior.

        (it’s odd in retrospect that after having seen a favorite band of mine in the 70s at this semi-haunted end of their core era road in ’82, I ended up seeing 80s faves the Replacements for the first time in ’91, one original member dead, touring their last album)

  8. Error Prone says:

    Not meaning to troll, but OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT’S MOTION
    TO DISMISS THE INDICTMENT BASED ON IMMUNITY CONFERRED BY HIS
    DIVERSION AGREEMENT – p.11, the lacking signature, big red arrow.

    If the approval is of critical importance and not a formality, whose good faith duty was it to make an effort to obtain that asserted “precondition” to the contract taking effect? It seems one agreeing arm of the federal government would have in good faith assumed that duty and acted. There seems no evidence exists of the agreeing prosecution to move in any direction to obtain the signature, nor of any reasonable belief it was Hunter’s duty to try to seek that signature.

    If the government made no reasonable effort to get the final third signature, is that not a waiver, or at least suggesting waiver of it as a truly material need?

    That prosecutorial willingness to be bound by terms was somehow technically excused or voided seems a weak assertion without asking whose duty was it to seek and obtain that probation approval in the normal course of dealing.

    Moreover, the contention is not that probation authorities had any actual objection to the agreement of the two parties, the terms and conditions, but rather that nobody acted to attain a third signature proving notice, rejection, or approval.

    • emptywheel says:

      Right: And the real background is that Hunter entered into an agreement, The DAY AFTER that, Weiss started reneging, in significant part by replacing the AUSA who negotiated the deal with Leo Wise. And then Wise abrogated the terms of the deal in the hearing, which is what really blew it up.

      And having blown it up, failed to submit the form for a signature.

      • Howlclan says:

        The deal was blown up when the judge asked for clarification of the scope of immunity correct? The deal worded like HB would have immunity from all past crimes. Hunter’s team said yes and Weiss said no correct? It’s not like Weiss just had an injection of politics at that moment in the court room. Wasn’t he just called out over a sweetheart deal that nobody else could possibly get?

        • timbozone says:

          Nope. He’s being prosecuted by the Congress with the help of an overly aggressive special counsel that happens to support the GOP’s agenda for retaining power. Rather than be skeptical of Hunter’s innocents, it might be a better idea to be skeptical of the government’s case here. Along those lines, maybe look into how often this sort of gun charge is actually prosecuted.

          • Shadowalker says:

            Standalone? Think you could count the number of cases on one or maybe two hands since that law was passed. From what I understand, conviction rate is low single digit range. The tax charges if they go through, would make Hunter the very first taxpayer to be charged after he resolved the civil part of the tax code with the IRS.

        • Sherrie H says:

          LOL the “sweetheart deal” on crimes that are rarely prosecuted, especially after voluntarily paying the debt? Roger Stone got a sweetheart deal, for intentional tax avoidance of a larger amount over a longer period. Even charging Biden criminally instead of a civil suit was tougher than typical, and a deal for 2 years of probation for taxes he’d already paid and didn’t intentionally avoid is the opposite of a “sweetheart deal.”

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        Another way to put it:

        “And having blown it up, remembered not to submit the form for a signature.)

  9. Upisdown says:

    “He simply repeated, as all such responses do, that Hunter hasn’t found someone similarly situated who wasn’t charged…”

    If there is any way of checking on the purchases of firearms, I wish someone would look into the boxes checked by Asa Hutchison III. He’s the son of someone running for president. He has a history of drug use. He got stopped with coke and a gun in his possession. You don’t get much more “similarly situated” than that.

    https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2023/oct/17/hutchinsons-criminal-case-resolved-with-eight/

    Hutchinson’s lawyer said this:

    “We were very happy with the result and I’ll commend the Benton County Prosecutors Office for treating him just like everyone else,” Wilkinson said. “It doesn’t always work that way. I’ve represented a lot of notable clients and, contrary to popular belief, there’s very rarely an upside to being notable.”

    Ironic.

  10. HdudeNaz says:

    Back in 1971 I denied a car search, cops got a warrant and arrested me in California for small quantity of pot. Just out of the Marines, I took a plea and got probation and a fine and a life. When I got my wallet back from the cops they asked me about the foil with powered substance and I told them it was LSD. He remarked that the original warrant didn’t cover a second search and I got to walk.

    Wouldn’t the date of the 2nd warrant be an attempt to validate a subsequent search and wouldn’t that Dec. 2023 be past the statute of limitations?

  11. wetzel-rhymes-with says:

    Hunter Biden is like a kaleidoscope everyone can look through, a reprobate, the unfortunate fail-son, the mid-life crisis, the drug addict, the victim of a political persecution and rat-fuc#ing operation so historically nasty as to be the grounds for two Presidential impeachments.

    Hunter Biden’s story doesn’t really help a person come to grips with free will, I think, Ed, unless you can identify where Hunter made the choice to become a cocaine addict. He should get Sapolsky to testify how dopamine works in the mesolimbic system to decide what you do through action selection by the basal ganglia.

    Thanks, as always, Marcy. This is a great post!

  12. Error Prone says:

    Unless I missed something, the Clark Declaration is uncontroverted. https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.ded.82797/gov.uscourts.ded.82797.60.2.pdf

    In it a course of negotiation is detailed. With referenced attachments. The Biden side’s most material concern was clearly stated that the investigation be terminated, later changed to “resolved.” That it not continue. Nor, implicitly, that it not extend in reach.

    Probation approval was detailed there, and there appears to be no controverting evidence that approval was absent. Word search = “investigation” shows bargaining, and in context the emphasis Clark placed upon closing the matter is clear. And it was communicated to prosecutors.

    And they agreed.

    The Clark Declaration does not mention any discussion of nondisclosure of representation as an agent of any foreign interest, but the agreed wording of the signed diversion document does say no further federal charges. Expressly discussed or not, the document is not ambiguously worded.

    Why is the Diversion document not per se enforceable? As written? Changes as wanted by Weiss, as communicated to Clark are identified. No prosecutor mentioned any other matters as material to their reaching agreement. Why was it allowed to be repudiated during a court appearance? The judge asked about it, and Wise bailed out.

    Is that usual? Discovery into the circumstances seems appropriate.

  13. morganism says:

    White powdery substance? Cops are so freaked by fentanyl contamination, they would have narcaned (sic) that puppy in a second…

    OT, AZ politics. Is No Labels actually Heritage Foundation?

    Judge says No Labels can block candidates from running for offices other than president in Arizona

    PHOENIX (AP) — No Labels, the group preparing for a possible third-party presidential campaign, can prohibit members from using its ballot line to run for office in Arizona, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

    The decision protects the group’s efforts to maintain control and secrecy around its operations and finances as Donald Trump critics warn that No Labels could help return Trump to the White House by siphoning voters who might otherwise vote for President Joe Biden.

    A judge blocked Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes from recognizing candidates wanting to run for office under the No Labels banner aside from the party’s yet-to-be-chosen ticket for president and vice president.

    Fontes, a Democrat, called the ruling “dead wrong” and vowed to appeal. He warned that the ruling could keep the nearly 19,000 No Labels party members from voting in a primary, and the precedent could allow party bosses to decide who can run for office from any party. …

    https://apnews.com/article/no-labels-arizona-lawsuit-adrian-fontes-d1077e77993ef0b166056170358de11e

    [Moderator’s note: Do NOT cut and paste entire news articles into comments here. Summarize or use an excerpt 100-300 words long which is permitted under Fair Use. More than that violates copyright and I do NOT want to have to deal with a take-down from Associated Press. Secondly, learn how to use the blockquote tag to offset excerpted text — see https://www.w3schools.com/html/html_quotation_elements.asp. I have reformatted your comment using blockquote to make it easier on readers as well as cutting your excerpt to Fair Use length. /~Rayne]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Come on. Are you auditioning to be an Ivy League president?

      You quoted a complete article, without quotation marks. AP, in particular, does not take kindly to that. Summarize it and give a cite rather than appear to abuse copyright. It’s also too long. Pretty sure this has come up with your comments before. Happily, Rayne beat me to it, but it’s unfair to expect her to police so obvious a problem.

      • Rayne says:

        Thanks. As I said I don’t want to deal with a take-down. Neither Marcy — who’d receive the request first — nor I want the extra hassle.

        Article was 574 words, btw, and in its entirety. Definitely well outside Fair Use.

  14. chum'sfriend says:

    Marcy made clear that the white powder was not found on the gun or its holster, but on the outside of a leather pouch. What was not clear was if that pouch had been contaminated with the white powder in circumstances not involving the firearm or its holster.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “Outside of a leather pouch.” The prosecution would have to establish how it got there owing to the conduct of defendant. After five years, good luck with that.

      • Shadowalker says:

        I like how they put the blame for why it took the FBI five years to discover the evidence solely on the state (specifically Delaware State Police).

        “ In 2023, FBI investigators pulled sealed evidence from the state police vault to take photographs of the defendant’s firearm. After opening the evidence, FBI investigators observed a white powdery substance on the defendant’s brown leather pouch that had held the defendant’s firearm in October 2018.”

        Which brings up a host of problems with this evidence and tying it directly to Hunter, especially since it was found in a dumpster.

        “ She discarded these items in a trash can behind a grocery store in Wilmington, Delaware. The defendant’s gun, speed loader, 23 rounds of ammunition, and brown leather pouch were found by an elderly man who routinely collected recyclables from trash cans in the area.”

  15. David F. Snyder says:

    OT: is it possible the Appeals Court issues their ruling by the end of this week? March 4 is quickly approaching.

  16. c-i-v-i-l says:

    Re: “December 2019: When Weiss obtained the laptop, but he doesn’t provide the exact date or discuss the provenance problems of it,” there’s a copy of the property receipt here, though I can’t make out the exact date (perhaps someone has a tool that would darken the text and make it more readable?): https://www.foxnews.com/politics/laptop-hunter-biden-linked-fbi-money-laundering-probe (sorry for the Fox link, but I haven’t found anything more reliable with a copy of the receipt).

    Also, the right-wing is getting crazed by the statement in the filing that “A search warrant was also obtained for his laptop and the results of the search were largely duplicative of information investigators had already obtained from Apple,” falsely insisting that this proves that the laptop is “authentic,” ignoring that (a) the search warrants meant that they were only comparing limited data on the laptop and iCloud account, (b) a key feature of having an iCloud account is having a back-up of your data, so you wouldn’t expect much difference, and (c) the iCloud account was hacked, so if anything, it suggests that the laptop contents are not “authentic.” I actually wonder what the difference is between the search warrant results from Apple and the Macbook / why they exist.

    • Shadowalker says:

      Looks like they are trying to bury the laptop or at least put some distance from the gun case (not sure how that will fly in the tax case because of the congressional testimony from disgruntled IRS employees). Don’t know if there is enough there in the digital file, but it looks like either 12/2/19 or 12/7/19.

Comments are closed.