Attorney: Paternity, child-support deal set with Hunter Biden

Depositions off, message declares

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)

Hunter Biden and Lunden Alexis Roberts have agreed to settle their paternity and child-support suit, an attorney for Roberts said late Tuesday.

“We have a global, final settlement of all issues. No depositions tomorrow,” Clint Lancaster, attorney for the Independence County woman, said Tuesday in a text message to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The deal was revealed as presidential primary votes were being tallied in Michigan and five other states. Biden’s father, former Vice President Joe Biden, is leading in the Democratic presidential primary.

The parties hope to wrap the case up quickly, Lancaster said.

“We will seek the court’s approval as soon as [Thursday] or Friday. Terms are to be sealed,” he wrote.

Lancaster portrayed the resolution as welcome news.

“Our client is very happy that her child is being supported by both parents and that this matter is fully resolved,” he wrote.

Brent Langdon, the attorney representing Hunter Biden, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: In an email Wednesday morning, Brent Langdon, the attorney representing Hunter Biden, confirmed that a deal had been reached.

“The parties have reached a compromised settlement” to resolve “All remaining issues and will be submitting a final order to the Court for approval,” Langdon wrote.

Dismissing Biden’s coronavirus fears and campaign-related concerns stated in a motion, Independence County Circuit Judge Holly Meyer earlier Tuesday had reiterated an order that Biden must appear in Little Rock today for a deposition in the suit.

The judge also reiterated that Biden, who resides in Los Angeles, must appear for a pretrial hearing set in January for Friday in Batesville.

Delaying the trial until after Election Day, as Biden had suggested, is not an option, she wrote.

In a motion filed Tuesday afternoon, Langdon had argued it was unreasonable to make his client appear in Little Rock for today’s deposition, portraying the requirement as “unduly burdensome and oppressive.”

Such a trip, Langdon argued, would jeopardize the health of Biden’s family. Hunter Biden’s wife, Melissa, is 8½ months pregnant, he said.

“It is unsafe for the Defendant to travel, as travel restrictions have been implemented both domestically and internationally, particularly on airlines, due to the Coronavirus,” he wrote. “Setting aside personal endangerment, Defendant reasonably believes that such travel unnecessarily exposes his wife and unborn child to this virus. California, in particular, has been the site of numerous reported cases of exposure.”

In her three-page order, Meyer denied that the trip is unreasonably risky.

“The defendant can come by plane, train, or automobile but life and work will and should continue in our communities and courts,” she wrote. “No health threat specific to the defendant has been identified, reasonable precautions are appropriate.”

Biden had already been given “considerable leniency regarding continuances and delay,” Meyer wrote.

Nor was the pregnancy sufficient grounds for a delay, Meyer said.

There was no need, the judge emphasized, for Melissa Biden to travel to Arkansas.

“The defendant’s spouse is not allowed to attend his deposition per the prior protective order restricting onlookers and her appearance at the pretrial hearing is not required nor even suggested,” she wrote.

In her order, Meyer also declined to continue Biden’s case until after Election Day, calling his request for a nine-month delay “excessive.” The general election is Nov. 3.

Last month, Langdon asked the court to delay the deposition until April 1, informing the court that his client was “unavailable.”

Langdon couldn’t provide a reason for Biden’s unavailability, however.

“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,” Meyer told Langdon during a conference call Feb. 26.

Tuesday, Langdon again suggested postponing the deposition — this time for nine months.

“Defendant is once again the subject of intense media scrutiny arising from President [Donald] Trump, Republican Senators and others politically motivated to thwart former Vice-President Joseph R. Biden’s nomination as the Democratic candidate for President as he has once again become the frontrunner for nomination as the Democratic Presidential candidate,” Langdon wrote. “The tremendously elevated media scrutiny creates some physical risks and logistics difficulties with travel to Arkansas, invades the privacy of the Defendant and his 8 and ½ month pregnant wife, threatens to complicate the Court’s ability to conduct a public hearing, creates a highly prejudicial environment from Defendant, and cannot be in the child’s or his mother’s interest in any way.”

In her order Tuesday, Meyer questioned whether delays would lead to decreased media interest.

“The Court cannot foresee this subsiding as Mr. Biden is a public figure and interest in his person will continue,” she wrote, adding, “The nine month continuance requested is excessive.”

Roberts, an Arkansas State University graduate, met Biden while she was living in Washington, D.C., her attorney, Lancaster, had said.

The child, referred to as “Baby Doe,” was born in August 2018; the paternity suit followed in May, days after Biden’s marriage to a South African filmmaker, the former Melissa Cohen.

A DNA test showed, “with near scientific certainty,” that Biden is Baby Doe’s father, Meyer declared in a January order.

In January, the parties agreed on temporary child support until the issue is resolved.

Earlier this month, Roberts’ attorney filed a renewed motion for contempt against Biden, arguing that he had failed to turn over financial records and other information. In a separate court filing Tuesday, Langdon denied that his client has improperly withheld tax returns or otherwise disobeyed the judge’s instructions.

The paternity and child-support dispute has played out in the midst of the presidential campaign.

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

Hunter Biden was paid $50,000 per month or more, despite having no known experience in Ukraine or in the natural gas industry, Republican lawmakers have alleged.

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

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 in February 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 the March 3 Democratic primary in Arkansas, carrying 74 of the state’s 75 counties, including Independence County.