Hunter Biden’s legal representatives appeared to deploy a cunning strategy on Tuesday to prevent the disclosure of potentially damaging evidence ahead of his presumed admission of guilt to federal charges of tax evasion and firearm offenses.
The situation started in the morning when the House Ways and Means Committee submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to Delaware US District Judge Maryellen Noreika, contending that the 53-year-old Biden had gained from “political interference that raises questions about the legitimacy of the investigation” into supposed offenses including money laundering, severe tax evasion, and failure to register as a foreign agent.
This submission included statements from two IRS whistleblowers who attended recorded interviews on May 26 and June 1.
Subsequent developments were detailed in a letter to the judge Tuesday afternoon by the committee’s leading attorney, Theodore Kittila.
“We were informed around 1:30 p.m. that our submission had been removed from the record,” Kittila stated. “We immediately got in touch with the Clerk’s office, where we learned that someone had called the Court claiming to be associated with my office and requested the removal of this from the record. We promptly clarified that this information was incorrect. The Clerk’s Office responded that we would need to re-file. We have now done so.”
Kittila incorporated email conversations with court officials and Hunter Biden’s lawyers into the new filing.
Samantha Grimes, a court official, confirmed that the call was made by a certain Jessica Bengels, stating, “She mentioned she worked alongside Theodore Kittila and insisted that the document be removed immediately, or they would submit a motion to seal.”
Bengels holds the position of litigation services director at the New York-based law firm of Latham & Watkins, where Chris Clark, an attorney for Hunter Biden, was once a partner.
Upon confronting Biden’s legal team, they argued the submission contained private tax and identifying details, despite the whistleblower statements having been publicly accessible for over a month.
The email timestamps indicated that the request to withdraw the document was made after Kittila had rejected a request to seal the testimony.
Clark wrote, “In my understanding, the managing attorney from Latham contacted the clerk’s office to point out that my client’s personal tax details had been filed without redaction and to inquire about having the information sealed.” He accused Kittila’s actions of being “improper, illegal, and in violation of applicable rules.” Clark threatened to pursue all suitable sanctions in response to these actions.
Judge Noreika issued an order that evening requiring Hunter’s lawyers to “justify why sanctions should not be considered for misrepresentations to the Court,” given they had not officially submitted any request to seal evidence in the matter. Nonetheless, she also mandated the submission be sealed until the end of business Wednesday.
A Ways and Means Committee spokesperson told The Post, “We submitted what was already public as something for the judge to take into account. They then misrepresented themselves to have it removed.”
Bengels filed an affidavit just before 9 p.m., blaming a miscommunication among the clerks for the withdrawal of the Ways and Means submission.
Hunter’s lawyers assured the judge that there was no intentional misrepresentation or misleading of the court in a letter. They maintained they were uncertain how the misunderstanding happened but were confident no misrepresentation occurred.
It remains to be seen whether this dispute will have an impact on Noreika’s decision to accept Biden’s plea, which has been criticized by Republicans as an excessively lenient agreement.