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Tags: hunter biden | contempt | congress | subpoena | testimony | prison

Hunter Biden Risks Prison by Defying Congressional Subpoena

By    |   Monday, 18 December 2023 12:41 PM EST

Hunter Biden's decision to defy a congressional subpoena could threaten his freedom, according to legal experts who have looked at his case.

In early November, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee led by Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., issued subpoenas to privately depose both President Joe Biden's son Hunter and his brother James Biden.

But last week Hunter Biden publicly flouted the subpoena from congressional investigators seeking to probe his and his father's business dealings.

Legal experts contend Hunter Biden's decision to brazenly resist the legal subpoena could put him at odds with his pretrial release stipulations relating to the federal charges he faces in Delaware.

Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to charges Oct. 3 that he lied about his drug use while purchasing a handgun.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Burke set the conditions for Hunter Biden's release pending trial, which included clearing travel with a probation officer, abstaining from illegal drugs and alcohol, seeking employment, and, crucially, not violating the law.

"Hunter's walking a fine line of having his bail revoked for not complying with the House subpoena," said Paul Kamenar, senior counsel at the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative nonprofit that promotes ethics in public life.

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said bluntly that contempt of Congress is a "criminal violation of federal law."

Under 2 U.S.C. Section 192 it is a misdemeanor criminal offense to "willfully" fail to comply with a valid congressional subpoena for either documents or testimony "upon any matter under inquiry before either House … or any committee of either House of Congress."

"There is no question that Hunter Biden 'willfully' failed to comply with a congressional subpoena issued by a House committee engaging in an 'inquiry,'" von Spakovsky said. "Therefore, he would be in violation of any condition that he not commit another crime."

But before a judge even considers revoking Hunter Biden's bail, Kamenar said Congress has to officially hold him in contempt.

Even if that happens, von Spakovsky said the contempt has to be referred to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.

After Hunter Biden said he would only testify publicly, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who leads the House Judiciary Committee, told reporters that contempt of Congress proceedings could be an option.

Former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker told Newsmax's "Wake Up America" that he does not expect the Justice Department to prosecute Hunter Biden on a contempt of Congress charge.

"I think ultimately they don't [prosecute] because this Merrick Garland and this Department of Justice are probably unwilling to go against Hunter Biden and Joe Biden — their bosses," he said.

Wendy Patrick, a Newsmax insider and career trial attorney, said there is a possibility Hunter Biden's decision to not cooperate with Congress might not be considered a violation of the terms of his pretrial release.

She said the conditions set forward by a judge to leave a defendant out of custody are "usually uniquely tailored to the defendant and the charged crime" that are designated to "ensure the defendant remains law abiding during the time between release and the next court date."

Even if Congress pursued civil contempt charges instead of criminal ones, Kamenar noted it will take time to go through the process.

"There are several roadblocks here before he can be brought up for violating conditions of his parole," he said.

Kamenar said he believes, for a judge to move forward with revoking Hunter Biden's bail, special counsel David Weiss would have to go before the court and ask the judge to act.

"I don't think the judge can do that on their own unless the prosecutor brings that to their attention," he said.

Curtis Hill, who served as the 43rd attorney general of Indiana and a GOP candidate for governor, agrees Hunter Biden would have to be found in contempt of Congress before a judge can determine whether to revoke his bond.

"If Hunter Biden is found in contempt of Congress, the judge in Delaware could very well determine the contempt to be the type of conduct prohibited and revoke his bond," Hill said.

Hill noted a contempt of Congress charge is often based on "political theater rather than rooted as a serious crime," he sees a double standard.

"While conservatives are often held to a higher standard and face severe consequences for any perceived wrongdoing, Biden is likely to get a pass," he said.

Hill argued the current situation "reinforces the perception that there are a different set of rules for the Biden family."

Federal prosecutor David Weiss did not respond to Newsmax's request for comment.

Newsmax also asked Hunter Biden's attorney Abbe Lowell for comment and did not receive a response.

Last month Lowell told The Associated Press that the Congressional subpoenas were "yet another political stunt," adding the House probe comprised of "worn-out, false, baseless, or debunked claims."

He reiterated Hunter Biden was "eager" to speak at a public hearing on the matter.

Marisa Herman

Marisa Herman, a Newsmax senior reporter, focuses on major and investigative stories. A University of Florida graduate, she has more than a decade of experience as a reporter for newspapers, magazines, and websites.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Hunter Biden's decision to defy a congressional subpoena could threaten his freedom, according to legal experts who have looked at his case.
hunter biden, contempt, congress, subpoena, testimony, prison
Monday, 18 December 2023 12:41 PM
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