Hunter Biden Seeks Expedited Tax Evasion Hearing Amid Clash With Gun Trial, Appeal

Mr. Biden’s lawyers argue he is not to blame for an overlap with separate legal proceedings in Delaware.
Hunter Biden Seeks Expedited Tax Evasion Hearing Amid Clash With Gun Trial, Appeal
Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, and his wife Melissa Cohen Biden walk to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on March 29, 2024. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
Caden Pearson

Hunter Biden told a California judge presiding over his tax evasion case on Tuesday that he wasn’t aware that failing to file a motion to stay pending appeal would be “at his own peril.”

Additionally, in asking for an expedited hearing on his motion to stay district court proceedings while he pursues an interlocutory appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Mr. Biden’s lawyers argue that he is not to blame for the resulting overlap with separate proceedings in Delaware, where he faces gun charges.

According to a court filing, a scheduling conflict caused by Mr. Biden’s appeals and his upcoming trial in Delaware necessitate an expedited hearing on his motion to stay proceedings in his tax evasion case in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Specifically, defense attorneys Angela Machala and Abbe Lowell request that the hearing take place before a scheduled pretrial conference. The court’s rules currently set the first available date for a hearing after the conference, which they argue conflicts with Mr. Biden’s criminal trial scheduled for June 3 in Delaware.

Mr. Biden had previously argued that the district court had been divested of its jurisdiction when he filed an appeal with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. This claim was disputed by Special Counsel David Weiss, who is prosecuting the case.

In a filing on Tuesday, Mr. Weiss argued against Mr. Biden’s motion for a stay. He argued that the “problems” asserted by Mr. Biden as he takes both his cases to the Third and Ninth Circuits while preparing for trial “are entirely of his own making.” Mr. Biden filed motions to dismiss his Delaware charges with the Third Circuit, which dismissed them, according to court documents.

“The defendant previously agreed to a trial in this case starting on June 20, 2024, and in the Delaware case on June 3, 2024,” wrote Mr. Weiss. “At the time he agreed to both trial dates he undoubtedly concluded he could prepare for both trials. The only thing that has changed is that he took the extraordinary step of attempting to appeal on an interlocutory basis the denial of pretrial orders for which there is clearly no jurisdiction. His chosen litigation strategy does not justify a stay.”

On May 9, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Scarsi stated that the court “has not vacated the pretrial schedule, and absent a request for [a stay], Mr. Biden ignores the Court’s orders at his own peril.”

In response, Mr. Biden filed his motion for stay pending appeal the next day. In their Tuesday filing, his lawyers argue that until the court’s May 9 order, Mr. Biden wasn’t aware of its position on the necessity for such a motion, which he promptly filed.

“Mr. Biden only became aware on May 9, 2024 of this Court’s position that ‘having failed to seek a stay of this Court’s orders regarding trial preparation, … Mr. Biden ignores the Court’s orders at his own peril,’” defense attorneys Ms. Machala and Mr. Lowell wrote.

“While Mr. Biden maintains his position that this Court was divested of jurisdiction upon filing of his notice of appeal, upon learning of the Court’s position that a request for a stay was necessary, Mr. Biden filed his Motion for Stay Pending Appeal,” the defense wrote.

The lawyers representing Mr. Biden stated that any delay in filing the motion was not due to “deviousness or willfulness” but rather a result of the court’s clarification on May 9.

“Therefore, even if this Court determines Mr. Biden had a hand in creating the delay, any such conduct should be considered excusable negligence,” the defense wrote.

The court rules mandate that all motions must be filed 14 days before the hearing date. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California hears motions on Mondays unless there is a national holiday, in which case they’re heard the following Monday.

Mr. Biden’s motion was filed on May 10, meaning the first Monday his motion for a stay could be heard is June 3, the same day as his Delaware trial, due to Memorial Day falling on May 27. Adding to the complication, the court’s rules dictate that the last day for hearing motions is the date of the pretrial conference, scheduled for May 29.

“Moreover, Mr. Biden’s criminal trial in Delaware is still scheduled to begin on June 3rd, so counsel will be unavailable that day. Accordingly, Mr. Biden seeks expedited hearing of his Motion to Stay Pending Appeal,” the defense wrote.

Hunter Biden's motorcade leaves the U.S. courthouse in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Hunter Biden's motorcade leaves the U.S. courthouse in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

In an alternative request, Mr. Biden’s lawyers ask the court to either dispense with oral arguments on the motion and decide it based on written submissions or permit Mr. Biden’s counsel to appear telephonically for a hearing before June 3.

The lawyers argue that Mr. Biden would suffer irreparable prejudice if the motion is denied, stating that the motion is likely to succeed on its merits and prompt resolution is both crucial and desired by both parties. The filing also argues that the special counsel, on the other hand, would not suffer harm.

However, Mr. Weiss countered this claim, asserting that with the trial set to begin in about a month, “the damage done by a stay will be to almost certainly cause a continuance of the trial date.”

Mr. Biden’s lawyers say that he is not at fault for “creating the crisis” that led to their requesting the stay, nor did the scheduling conflict come about “as a result of excusable neglect.” The filing asserts that Mr. Biden promptly addressed the issue upon the court’s May 9 order.

“Should this Court determine that Mr. Biden had a part in the delayed filing, Mr. Biden easily satisfies the standard for excusable neglect,” the defense wrote.

In contrast, the special counsel sought to counter these arguments on Tuesday, arguing that “the defendant’s ‘hardship’ is one he has created for himself.”

“Preparing for trial rather than pursuing interlocutory appeals of denials of pretrial orders, where the Circuit Court has no jurisdiction, is not a ‘hardship,’” Mr. Weiss wrote.

Caden Pearson is a reporter covering U.S. and world news.