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Hunter Biden child-support deal reached, attorneys say

by Frank E. Lockwood | January 27, 2020 at 7:14 a.m.
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. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The parties in the Hunter Biden paternity suit have reached a temporary agreement on child support and are asking the judge to postpone Wednesday's hearing at which Biden's attendance was required, an attorney for the mother said Sunday.

"He's doing the right thing by finally stepping up and paying what he should've been paying," said Clint Lancaster, the attorney representing plaintiff Lunden Alexis Roberts.

Brent Langdon, who represents the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, confirmed that progress had been made.

"The parties have reached an agreement which, if approved by the Court, would avoid the necessity of a hearing on Wednesday," he said in an email.

The move would enable Hunter Biden to avoid a mandatory trip to the Independence County Courthouse in the midst of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Trump is accused by House Democrats of pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens in order to undermine Joe Biden's presidential campaign. Hunter Biden once served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. He joined the board while his father was vice president and quit the same month his father began his candidacy for president.

The Bidens were mentioned dozens of times last week during the Senate impeachment proceedings in Washington, D.C., with Republicans questioning their Ukraine dealings and Democrats portraying them as victims of a partisan political smear campaign.

While the elder Biden is the leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, the younger Biden has been embroiled for months in the Batesville child support case. Roberts filed the paternity suit against Biden in May 2019, seeking a determination of paternity as well as child support.

After initially denying that he'd had sexual relations with Roberts, Biden agreed to take a DNA test in November. It showed, "with near scientific certainty," that he is the biological father, the court declared Jan. 7.

While paternity has been established, child support issues remain unresolved.

Told, in court filings, that the defendant had improperly withheld financial information, Circuit Judge Holly Meyer last week commanded Biden to "appear and show cause, if any exists, as to why he should not be held in contempt for any of the alleged violations of this court's orders."

By Friday, a temporary deal between the parties had been reached, Lancaster said.

"He's going to begin paying monthly child support. He's going to pay retroactive child support back to November of 2018. And he's going to pay attorney's fees and costs," Lancaster said.

In a Nov. 20 motion and brief, Lancaster asked the court to award him attorney's fees and costs totaling $11,057.80 for work performed to that point on Roberts' behalf.

A graduate of Arkansas State University, Roberts later took courses at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. While in Washington, she met Biden, according to her attorney. The child, referred to as "Baby Doe " in initial court filings, was born in August 2018.

November 2018 is when Biden discontinued providing voluntary child support, Lancaster said.

Roberts has asked the court to award her child support. But Biden told the court in a signed Nov. 27 affidavit that he is unemployed and hasn't had a monthly income since May 2019.

Under the agreement, Hunter Biden would be given until March 1 to submit any remaining relevant financial documents. In Arkansas, the records help determine appropriate child support levels.

"If he does that, we'll dismiss our motions for contempt so that they'll be a moot issue," Lancaster said.

The next pretrial hearing in the case is set for March 13, with the final hearing scheduled for May 13.

Roberts' suit is not intended to undermine Joe Biden's presidential campaign, according to Lancaster.

"There is no political motivation whatsoever," Lancaster said. "This suit was brought because Ms. Roberts was not receiving support for her child. ... Kids are expensive. She wanted and needed child support and that's what this case was about. It's always been about that, and it's what it's about going forward."

"Impeachment was just a strange coincidence for us," he said. "We filed in May of 2019 and our hope was that this would've happened quickly, quietly and been done. In my mind, there's no reason why it should've drug on as long as it did."

Lancaster said he's not tuning in to the impeachment trial and he has no idea whether his client is even watching.

"We don't talk politics," he said. "She's a mom who needs child support, and I'm a lawyer who is going to get it for her."

A Section on 01/27/2020

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