BATESVILLE -- The attorneys representing Hunter Biden in a paternity suit in Arkansas told Circuit Judge Don McSpadden on Monday they can no longer represent the former vice president's son.
No new attorneys were named to represent Hunter Biden, whose father, Joe Biden, is a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In a "motion to withdraw as attorneys of record," former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Bart W. Calhoun and Jessica Duncan Johnston said they are "required to withdraw" under the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct "due to an irreconcilable conflict."
The motion was filed Monday, minutes before a hearing on the paternity case was set to begin in Batesville.
It stated that an earlier motion to withdraw was submitted the day before Thanksgiving. Then the attorneys on Thanksgiving, when the courthouse was closed, asked the court clerk not to file that earlier motion.
Hunter Biden's "personal attorney" on Saturday "advised undersigned counsel of discharge, which is additional grounds for mandatory withdrawal," the document filed Monday stated. The document didn't identify Biden's "personal attorney."
Lunden Alexis Roberts, the plaintiff in the case, attended the hearing. Hunter Biden was not present and did not submit an affidavit of financial means. But in the attempted motion filed Wednesday, he stated that he was unemployed and had no income.
Roberts is asking the court to declare that Biden is her child's biological father and to order him to pay child support and provide health insurance for the toddler.
Roberts graduated from Arkansas State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.
She later attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C. While in Washington, she met Biden, according to her attorney, Clint Lancaster.
She gave birth in August 2018. The name of the child, referred to in court documents as "Baby Doe," has not been disclosed.
Last month, her attorney filed a motion with the court that DNA testing has established, "with scientific certainty," that Hunter Biden was the baby's father.
McSpadden granted the attorneys' motion to withdraw and gave Biden 10 more days to submit affidavits of financial means.
"He's going to have to provide at least the last three years of tax returns," McSpadden told the lawyers.
Some of the personal information, including the affidavit of financial means, will be sealed, the judge said.
A separate motion filed with the clerk Wednesday said that Hunter Biden "is not contesting paternity." It was accompanied by an affidavit, signed by Hunter Biden, stating that he had been "unable to complete an Affidavit of Financial Means as required by Arkansas law at this time because of a lack of complete information necessary to do so. In an effort to demonstrate to this Court my good faith, I attest that I am unemployed and have had no monthly income since May 2019."
Hunter Biden said he also has "significant debts (in part as a result of obligations arising from my divorce which was final in April 2017) ..."
In that earlier motion, Calhoun had said Hunter Biden was "working with his accountants" to prepare the affidavit of financial data, but needed additional time. The motion had sought a continuance as well as a protective order to shield some personal information from disclosure, arguing that it would be "in the interest of justice."
"The likelihood that [Hunter Biden's] private financial records will be used in an inappropriate and malicious manner for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with these proceedings is exceedingly high and should not be tolerated by this Court," the motion stated.
A U.S. House committee last month investigated allegations that President Donald Trump asked the government of Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden was named to the board of a natural gas company in that country when his father was vice president. Both Bidens have denied wrongdoing.
The paternity suit appears to be relatively straightforward, according to McSpadden. "This is not a difficult case," he said.
McDaniel declined to answer questions from reporters after the hearing.
George Mesires, Biden's Chicago-based attorney, did not immediately respond to a voicemail message seeking comment.
Lancaster, who represents Roberts, declined to discuss the developments at length.
"The judge has expressed a desire to limit the amount of information that comes out in the media so I would encourage you all to watch CourtConnect for any pleadings ... in the public record," he said, referring to the online system for Arkansas courts.
A new hearing in the paternity case has been set for Jan. 7.
Metro on 12/03/2019