A third party is petitioning a federal court to access a specific set of documents connected to U.S. Attorney David Weiss and his “special counsel status” from the Department of Justice (DOJ). This request comes before Hunter Biden’s plea deal hearing scheduled for this Wednesday.
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative non-profit organization, is urging the court to uphold a Freedom of Information Act request for all DOJ communications detailing any decisions regarding Weiss’s request for “Special Counsel Status.” Weiss is the lead prosecutor in the case involving President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
The Foundation stated in their motion that these communications are crucial to clarifying contradictions between the Attorney General, a U.S. Attorney, and whistleblowers regarding the investigation of Hunter Biden. The Foundation also emphasized that these communications would significantly lose their value if obtained after the upcoming plea hearing.
The request arises following the congressional testimony of two IRS criminal investigators. They stated that Weiss had sought special counsel status for the investigation, which the DOJ denied. These investigators, who had been involved in Hunter Biden’s case for several years, also asserted that Weiss was barred from pressing charges against Hunter Biden in California and Washington, D.C., before eventually filing charges in Delaware.
Contrarily, Weiss informed Congress in June that he had the “ultimate authority” over the case. Despite being “geographically limited” to Delaware, he stated he could seek “special attorney” status from Attorney General Merrick Garland to press charges in other jurisdictions if needed.
The appeal followed a rejection by U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich of Heritage’s demand for a wider range of documents, including all communications from Weiss’s office regarding “special counsel status” and any potential communications with other U.S. attorneys’ offices about charging Hunter Biden.
The DOJ resisted the request, citing the inability to meet the desired timeline due to more than 2,500 “potentially responsive records” that needed review. In addition, they had to handle over a dozen other requests for expedited FOIA processing on U.S. attorney-related matters.
Judge Friedrich, in her decision to deny Heritage’s original request, determined that the organization failed to prove the necessary urgency.
Mike Howell, a director at the Heritage Foundation supervising the case, stated the organization’s intention to attain the documents was for transparency. He highlighted that it is essential to determine if Weiss had the independence that Garland claimed he had. He further revealed that the organization intends to file an amicus brief before Hunter Biden’s hearing to discourage Weiss from proceeding.
In response to the Heritage Foundation’s renewed request for immediate relief, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals requested the DOJ to submit their response by Sunday evening.
Hunter Biden is expected to reach a plea deal in court on Wednesday with Weiss. The deal’s conditions include Hunter Biden pleading guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and agreeing to a pretrial diversion arrangement for a felony gun charge.