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Hunter Biden's papers missing, suit says

Filing calls listing of finances tardy by Frank E. Lockwood | March 7, 2020 at 9:13 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 mother of Hunter Biden's Arkansas child is again asking a state judge to find him in contempt of court, arguing that the former vice president's son continues to defy court orders in a paternity and child support case.

Alexis Lunden Roberts of Independence County alleges that Biden has not supplied her with a copy of his 2017 and 2018 personal tax returns, nor with the rest of a long list of other items.

Roberts made similar motions for contempt on Dec. 23 and Jan. 20.

Biden, Baby Doe's "biological and legal father," is supposed to appear in Little Rock for a deposition in the case next week.

"He needs to make himself available and unless his hair is on fire, he needs to be in Arkansas and he needs to be in a deposition," Circuit Judge Holly Meyer told lawyers in the case in a Feb. 26 telephone conference call.

In Friday's Renewed Motion for Contempt and for Order to Show Cause, Roberts' attorney, Clint Lancaster, said Biden "has continued to flaunt the orders of this Court by failing to answer discovery, comply with court orders, and provide his financial information."

Circuit Judge Don McSpadden, who was initially assigned the case, made clear more than three months ago that Biden could not withhold certain records.

"He's going to have to provide at least the last three years of tax returns," McSpadden told lawyers for both sides during a Dec. 2 hearing.

A court order, signed by McSpadden on Dec. 4, required Roberts and Biden to supply the court with their "five most recent paystubs or five previous years" of tax returns," as well.

McSpadden signed a separate order Dec. 16 instructing both sides to provide the court and opposing counsel with "A. their personal tax returns for the past five years; and B. any and ALL financial documents and information showing money or monies they received in the past five years."

The deadline to comply was Dec. 19.

Meyer, who replaced McSpadden in January, has emphasized the importance of obeying previous court orders.

After reviewing Roberts' second contempt motion, Meyer ordered Biden to appear in her courtroom "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."

Meyer removed the Jan. 29 "show cause" hearing from the docket after the parties reached an agreement on temporary child support.

Under the terms of the agreed-upon order, contempt motions related "to the failure to produce documents of answer discovery" would be dismissed if Biden provided the information to Roberts by 5 p.m. March 1.

Despite the extension, information continues to be improperly withheld, Roberts claimed in Friday's filing.

Among other things, Biden allegedly has failed to disclose "all financial institutions used by him or a business he owns or controls;" "a list of all companies he currently owns or in which he has an ownership interest and the state in which those companies are incorporated;" "a list of all sources of income for the past five years;" "a list of all employers for the past five years;" tax documents for companies he owns and "a copy of deeds to properties that he owns or in which he has an ownership interest."

"[T]he defendant continues to act as though he has no respect for this Court, its orders, the legal process in this state, or the needs of his child for support," Roberts' motion stated. "This Court should take some action that will make the defendant follow court orders and a believer in the rule of law."

Biden's attorney, Brent Langdon of Texarkana, Texas, did not respond to a request for comment Friday. In previous court filings, he has denied that his client is disobeying court orders.

Biden, the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, told the court in a signed Nov. 27 affidavit that he is unemployed and hasn't had a monthly income since May.

Despite his work status, he is living in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles, in a home that costs $12,000-per-month to lease, The New York Times reported last month.

A Porsche Panamera is in the driveway and the property's pool house has been converted into an art studio, the Times noted.

Since leaving the board of a Ukrainian energy company in April, Biden has been painting and hopes to exhibit his work, the Times reported.

Biden is scheduled to appear for a deposition at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Little Rock, according to a notice of deposition filed Thursday.

Biden's attorney had argued that his client would be unavailable for a deposition until April 1. Meyer, noting Biden's apparent lack of employment, had insisted that he appear for the deposition before a March 13 pretrial hearing.

Roberts, an Arkansas State University graduate, met Biden while she was living in Washington, D.C., according to Lancaster. The child was born in August 2018; the paternity suit followed in May.

A DNA test showed, "with near scientific certainty," that Biden is the baby's father, Meyer declared in a Jan. 7 order.

Child-support obligations must still be determined.

The paternity and child-support dispute has played out in the midst of the presidential campaign and it overlapped with the recent impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

The younger Biden had served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, while his father was helping to spearhead U.S. anti-corruption efforts in that country.

Biden was "reportedly paid $50,000 a month by Burisma," the Times article noted.

Trump's call for Ukrainian officials to investigate the Bidens' Ukrainian dealings helped spark the impeachment proceedings that ultimately ended with Trump's acquittal.

During the impeachment trial, most Republicans argued that Trump had raised legitimate concerns about the Bidens. Democrats accused Trump of smearing a political foe in order to boost his own reelection prospects.

While acknowledging that his Ukrainian board membership reflected "poor judgment," Hunter Biden told ABC News in October that it did not constitute "an ethical lapse."

Joe Biden, in an interview this month with NBC Today host Savannah Guthrie, dismissed criticism of his son.

"No one's found anything wrong with his dealings with Ukraine except they say it sets a bad image," he said.

Joe Biden won Tuesday's Democratic primary in Arkansas, carrying 74 of the state's 75 counties, including Independence County.

In an interview last month, Lancaster said the lawsuit and the election are entirely unrelated.

"My client wants everyone to know that she's not out to get Hunter Biden. She's not out to get Joe Biden. She's not trying to affect any presidential campaigns," he said.

Metro on 03/07/2020


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