Hunter Biden’s long-term attorney, Chris Clark, has decided to step back from representing him due to “recent developments in the matter.” This change comes as a result of potential circumstances where Clark might be summoned as a witness, especially concerning the disputed “sweetheart” plea deal proposed by the Justice Department for the president’s son.
A court document shows Clark has motioned to step down, citing “recent developments in the matter” as the reason.
Legal analyst TechnoFog commented on the Hunter Biden case development.
The attorney would be a witness to a disputed issue: the scope of Hunter’s plea deal, and whether it provides broader immunity to Hunter. pic.twitter.com/1tmHcXL2PO
— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) August 15, 2023
Pointing to the Delaware Rule of Professional Conduct in his submission, it states, “a lawyer shall not act as an advocate at a trial in which the lawyer is likely to be a necessary witness unless disqualification of the lawyer would work substantial hardship on the client.”
The document elaborates that due to these new developments, the negotiation process and drafting of the plea and diversion agreements are under contention. Clark, being a key witness to these issues, feels it’s inappropriate to continue as counsel, given the “witness-advocate” rule. He argued the departure wouldn’t cause significant disruption for Hunter Biden, who has other attorneys to represent him.
Initially, Hunter Biden was set to admit to two misdemeanor counts concerning unpaid federal income taxes. This plea deal would have allowed him to sidestep a felony gun charge. However, Judge Maryellen Noreika, overseeing this case, rejected the proposed agreements. She remarked that the Department of Justice’s proposed deal was unconventional and differed from usual cases.
Subsequently, Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to the two tax-related misdemeanor charges and a felony gun charge.
Key House Republicans, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, and Ways & Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, are probing the Department of Justice’s decision on this plea agreement, amid investigations into alleged political biases during the extended federal inquiry into Hunter Biden.
Recently, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, added himself as the representative in this federal case. In an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation”, Lowell expressed that a trial wasn’t guaranteed, suggesting there’s still a possibility of negotiating another plea deal. This stance seems to be at odds with the Justice Department’s recent indications of an impending trial.
“So there are two different agreements, as you point out,” he continued. “And on July 26, what was very clear is that the prosecution presented the diversion agreement, which they signed, which we signed, and as an agreement of which they have described it as being a standalone, independent bilateral agreement with two signatures on it. That agreement is different than the plea. The plea has not fallen, the plea did not go forward. The diversion agreement is already filed in court and it has the signatures necessary for it to be binding.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland recently appointed U.S. attorney for Delaware, David Weiss, as a special counsel. He is tasked with overseeing the Hunter Biden investigation and any related issues that emerge in connection with it.