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Joe Biden's son served with suit in Arkansas paternity case

Documents filed in Batesville by Frank E. Lockwood | July 27, 2019 at 4:30 a.m.
FILE — In this 2012 file photo, Hunter Biden waits for the start of his father's debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The son of former Vice President Joe Biden has been served with a paternity lawsuit and a summons from Independence County, according to documents filed Friday in Batesville.

A process server reported handing a copy of the lawsuit and summons to someone at Robert Hunter Biden's West Hollywood, Calif., residence on the evening of July 19, hours after Hunter Biden and his wife had attended a Southern California fundraiser benefiting his father's presidential campaign.

The suit, filed May 28, alleges that Hunter Biden, 49, is the father of Baby Doe, an Independence County infant born in August 2018.

The plaintiff -- Lunden Alexis Roberts, 28 -- maintains that she and Hunter Biden "were in a relationship" and that the baby was born "as a result of that relationship."

The 2014 Arkansas State University graduate, who said she met Biden while taking subsequent courses at George Washington University, is seeking a declaration of paternity and child support as well as attorney's fees and costs. She also wants the defendant to provide her child with health insurance.

Biden, who has lived in the Washington, D.C., area for much of his life, has denied ever "having sexual relations" with Roberts, The New Yorker magazine reported earlier this month.

On May 16, he married South African filmmaker Melissa Cohen, 32, according to numerous media reports.

The paternity case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Don McSpadden of Arkansas' 16th Judicial Circuit, which includes Independence County. No court date has been set.

George Mesires, a Chicago attorney who sometimes represents Hunter Biden, did not comment on the case Friday afternoon, but he indicated that a statement might be released later.

Under Arkansas law, defendants have 30 days after service to respond to a complaint. Otherwise, a default judgment can be entered against them.

Roberts' attorney, Clint Lancaster, had been trying to track down Biden for nearly two months.

"Getting somebody served is an important step and it was not an easy step," Lancaster said Friday.

Normally, the court papers are supposed to be personally delivered to a defendant. California allows them to be left "at the person's business, dwelling house" or "usual place of abode" if it is done "in the presence of a competent member of the household or a person apparently in charge of his or her office, place of business, or usual mailing address."

The competent member must be at least 18 years old and must be "informed of the contents" of the documents. The address can't be a post office box. In order for the service to be valid, a separate copy of the documents must be mailed to the place where they were left. "Service of a summons in this manner is deemed complete on the 10th day after the mailing," the California Code of Civil Procedure states.

Arkansas allows service, in some instances, to a defendant's family members. It would also recognize California service "in any manner" that complies with California law.

An affidavit of service, signed by California process server Jose Diaz, states that he and his colleagues repeatedly attempted to serve Hunter Biden in person, visiting the home on June 18, 19, 20, 27 and July 15.

On those five occasions, no one answered the door.

On the sixth visit, an individual was present and was served, the affidavit states.

The service, it says, was "received by Robert Hunter Biden." But it also describes the recipient as "Age: 29; Ethnicity: Middle Eastern; Gender: Female. ... subserved cousins wife, Jane Doe."

In fact, the person served was a male who identified himself as Cohen's cousin, Lancaster said.

The process server has signed an amended affidavit, which will be filed with the court next week, Lancaster added.

An Associated Press article said the July 19 fundraiser in Pasadena was Hunter Biden's "first appearance for his father's 2020 campaign."

His presence "was a sign the former vice president and his campaign see him as an asset to the campaign despite a series of personal problems that had kept him in the background," the AP report added.

The New Yorker article detailed Hunter Biden's history of drug use and his divorce from his first wife, Kathleen Buhle Biden, as well as his business dealings in China and Ukraine, much of it conducted while his father was vice president.

Among other things, Hunter Biden admitted receiving a 2.8-carat diamond from a Chinese businessman after a meeting in Miami. In the article, he dismissed the possibility that it had been intended as a bribe, arguing that the gift came after his father had already left office.

Joe Biden's time as vice president ended on Jan. 20, 2017. The diamond was mentioned in a divorce filing dated Feb. 23, 2017. In the New Yorker article, Biden said he didn't keep the diamond, passing it instead to associates. He rejected claims that the diamond was worth $80,000, portraying its value as roughly $10,000.

Roberts, who played on ASU's women's basketball team, has declined requests for interviews. Last month, Roberts' attorney said her motivation isn't political.

"She really does not want this to be a media spectacle. She does not want this to affect Joe Biden's campaign. She just wants this baby to get financial support from the baby's father," Lancaster said.

Metro on 07/27/2019

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