Sixteenth Circuit Judge Holly Meyer, who is overseeing the paternity suit against Hunter Biden, struck irrelevant pleadings from two would-be intervenors Monday morning and ordered them not to file similar material again.
In addition, Meyer ordered the Independence County circuit clerk not to accept any additional pleadings from the subjects unless the court first determines that the pleadings are "proper, germane, and not offered for the purpose of invoking unwarranted attention."
Meyer also signed a scheduling order, setting the date for future hearings and outlining the process moving forward.
In their filings, Dominic Casey of D&A Investigations Inc. of Longwood, Fla., and Joel Caplan of Jerusalem failed to assert any cause of action that would give them standing to intervene in the paternity suit and failed to "offer any credible allegation or proof" that they are entitled to intervene, she wrote in two separate but similar orders.
In both versions, the would-be intervenors were ordered to "refrain from future frivolous pleadings."
If Caplan, Casey or D&A Investigations Inc., fail to comply with Meyer's order, they could be "brought before the Court, held in contempt by this Court, and punished by fine, incarceration or both," she wrote.
Rather than focusing on the paternity of "Baby Doe," the child at the center of the lawsuit, the out-of-state filers had made unrelated allegations about the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Lunden Alexis Roberts, 28, filed the paternity suit against the former vice president's son in May.
After initially denying the existence of a previous sexual relationship, Hunter Biden eventually took a paternity test.
It "established with scientific certainty" that Biden, 49, had fathered the child, Roberts' attorney, Clint Lancaster of Benton, told the court in November.
On Nov. 27, Biden's attorneys notified the court that their client "is not contesting paternity."
Since its filing, the lawsuit has generated attention. It has also attracted attention from unrelated parties.
Circuit Judge Don McSpadden, who originally handled the case, had dismissed Casey's initial pleading, filed Dec. 23, before the judge recused from the case Dec. 31.
Casey responded by filing additional pleadings on Dec. 27 and Jan. 2, Meyer wrote. Another was filed early Monday morning, court records showed.
Caplan had submitted lengthy pleadings on Dec. 30 and 31, Meyer wrote in the order addressing Caplan's case.
None of the filings had merit, she said.
In Monday's orders, the men were "strongly cautioned not to file frivolous pleadings" in the future.
Later in the day, the judge mailed a copy of the order to Casey, court records show. It asked him to "carefully review and abide by the orders of the Court."
Also Monday, Meyer issued a scheduling order after a telephone conference call with attorneys in the case. The public and the news media were allowed to hear the on-the-record proceedings if the participants were present.
She postponed a hearing that had originally been scheduled for today, rescheduling it for Jan. 29.
Biden's attorney, Brent Langdon of Texarkana, Texas, argued that his client hadn't received sufficient notice if the hearing were to be held today.
The hearing will address temporary child support and other matters.
Meyer also extended the deadline for discovery and instructed both sides to "schedule depositions forthwith."
A second pretrial hearing was docketed for March 13.
Permanent child support will be set at a final hearing on May 13.
If either party wishes to address custody or visitation matters, they "shall file a pleading clearly stating their prayer to the Court within 10 days or be considered untimely," she wrote.
Meyer also will grant the mother's petition "regarding paternity of the minor child," she wrote.
Roberts' attorney, Lancaster, was previously tasked with drafting one.
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 to their child in August 2018.
Roberts alleged in a court filing that Biden hadn't paid child support in more than a year.
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.
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 01/07/2020
Print Headline: 2 warned by judge in Hunter Biden paternity lawsuit