Charles Lipson

Hunter’s latest indictment is bad news for Joe Biden

(Photo: Getty)

Surprise! Surprise! Hunter Biden faced new charges on Thursday, after the Department of Justice accused him of failing to pay $1.4 million (£1.1 million) in taxes between 2016 and 2019, while living an extravagant lifestyle. According to the indictment, filed in California, Hunter faces three new felony and six misdemeanour tax offences which could see him face 17 years in jail if convicted. 

Meanwhile, Hunter’s ‘stonewall strategy’ continues. He told the House Oversight Committee on Thursday that he won’t to comply with their subpoena for a closed-door deposition. Hunter’s refusal was delivered by his formidable attorney, Abbe Lowell. Lowell is smart, tough and relentless. He’s a ‘let’s fight’ litigator, replacing Hunter’s former counsel, who was known for striking deals. When the sweetheart deal – over potential violation of gun and tax laws – blew up in federal court, Hunter switched to Lowell. 

Abbe Lowell’s strategy and persona borrow something from Roy Cohn, the equally tough attorney known for representing Joe McCarthy. Cohn once remarked that when prospective clients wanted the toughest SOB in New York for their attorney, he wanted them to think of just one name: Roy Cohn. Lowell has the same marketing strategy in the nation’s capital. He’s a fighter, not a compromiser, and he has demonstrated that in representing Hunter Biden. Presumably, that’s why the president’s son chose him. 

Hunter’s latest refusal to testify reiterates his earlier one. The first refusal came wrapped in camouflage. Lowell told the Oversight Committee that Hunter was willing to testify ­– he couldn’t wait to do it – but that he would do it only in public. Actually, it is the committee, not the witness, who chooses how testimony will be given. 

Hunter’s offer was always a slick gambit, with two purposes in mind. One was to run out the clock, delaying his appearance until the committee had moved on and issued a report.

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Written by
Charles Lipson
Charles Lipson is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he founded the programme on International Politics, Economics, and Security.

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