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Judge says Hunter Biden must appear in Arkansas courtroom next week

Hearing set in paternity case against son of former vice president by Frank E. Lockwood | January 3, 2020 at 6:54 a.m.
FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2012, file photo, Hunter Biden waits for the start of the his father's, Vice President Joe Biden's, debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky. In 2014, then-Vice President Joe Biden was at the forefront of American diplomatic efforts to support Ukraine's fragile democratic government as it sought to fend off Russian aggression and root out corruption. So it raised eyebrows when Biden's son Hunter was hired by a Ukrainian gas company. President Donald Trump prodded Ukraine's president to help him investigate any corruption related to Joe Biden, now one of the top Democrats seeking to defeat Trump in 2020. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The new judge in the Hunter Biden paternity suit has ordered the former vice president's son and the Arkansas woman seeking child support to appear Tuesday in a Batesville courtroom.

But Biden's attorney is trying to get the hearing postponed, arguing that the court failed to provide his client with sufficient notice.

Lunden Alexis Roberts, 28, alleges that Biden, 49, is the father of her 1-year-old baby, but has failed to provide child support for more than a year.

Biden, who isn't disputing recent paternity test results that prove he is the father, has told the court through his counsel that he is unemployed.

The hearing date was selected Dec. 2 by Circuit Judge Don McSpadden. But McSpadden recused from the case on New Year's Eve without offering any reason.

In addition to the paternity action, Roberts' lawyer has also asked the court to hold Biden in contempt of court, arguing he had disobeyed the court by withholding pertinent financial records.

After the New Year's holiday, McSpadden's replacement, Circuit Judge Holly Meyer, informed both sides that the hearing would "continue to be set for January 7, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. at the Independence County Courthouse."

"All parties are required to appear for a hearing on all pending motions," she wrote in Thursday's "Order Setting Hearing."

That prompted Biden's attorney, Brent M. Langdon of Texarkana, Texas, to submit a motion for continuance Thursday afternoon.

With the case in limbo for two days and with McSpadden informing both sides that the case was off his docket, Biden hadn't received the requisite 20 days' notice required by the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, Langdon wrote.

As a result, Biden shouldn't be required to travel to Independence County next week, he argued. "Defendant resides in California and is unable to appear on January 7, 2020," Langdon added. "Should a hearing on this motion be necessary, Defendant requests the hearing to occur telephonically."

"[T]here is no threat of irreparable harm or damage," if the case is delayed, Langdon stated. In addition, he asked the court to consider Biden's request for a protective order before a child support hearing takes place.

Biden's financial information "has been the subject of an extraordinary amount of attention by media and non-interested, third parties," he noted.

Roberts plans to obey the court order, said her attorney, Clint Lancaster of Benton.

McSpadden had ordered both sides to provide the court and opposing counsel with five years' worth of personal tax returns by Dec. 19 as well as "any and ALL financial documents and information showing money or monies they received in the past five years."

Under a protective order, the baby's name and birth date have been sealed. Key financial data also is confidential.

Biden told the court in a signed Nov. 27 affidavit that he is unemployed and hasn't had a monthly income since May; his father, Joe Biden, entered the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on April 25.

The younger Biden, a Yale-educated attorney who recently moved to California, has an address in a Hollywood Hills neighborhood, court filings show. The home and property is assessed at $2.5 million, according to the Los Angeles County assessor's office.

It's unclear if Biden owns or rents the place.

Biden was spotted in Los Angeles last week driving a late-model, four-door Porsche Panamera, the New York Post's Page Six reported.

Roberts, a resident of Independence County, graduated from Arkansas State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.

She subsequently enrolled in George Washington University's forensic investigation graduate certificate program, taking courses in the summer and fall of 2015, a school spokesman said.

While in Washington, she met Biden, according to her attorney.

Roberts gave birth in August 2018.

Initially, Biden denied ever having sexual relations with Roberts.

But a DNA test established, "with scientific certainty," that Hunter Biden was the baby's father, according to a court document filed on her behalf.

Biden is "not contesting paternity," according to a Nov. 27 motion filed on his behalf.

Questions about Hunter Biden's finances, employment history and previous substance abuse have been raised by Republicans during the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Republicans have criticized Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine and China, noting that they overlapped with his father's time in office.

Hunter Biden's defenders say there's no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden, portraying the attacks as baseless and politically motivated.

Metro on 01/03/2020

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