The Department of Justice denied it tried to prevent Hunter Biden's ex-business partner from testifying to Congress when it requested this weekend he report to prison.
Devon Archer, who sat on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma with Hunter Biden, testified Monday behind closed doors to the House Oversight Committee about Joe Biden, who as vice president was involved in policy on Ukraine while Hunter Biden was on the board.
Speculation grew that the DOJ was trying to intimidate Archer after it sent a letter on Saturday requesting a judge set a date for him to report to prison in a separate case not involving the Bidens. Archer was convicted last year of defrauding a Native American tribe out of millions, and now federal prosecutors are pushing for his one-year sentence to begin.
In a letter to Judge Ronnie Abrams, who is overseeing Archer's fraud case, the DOJ said it "respectfully requests that the defendant be ordered to surrender, at a date and time determined by the Court, to a facility designated by the Bureau of Prisons to commence his term of imprisonment."
But the DOJ on Sunday denied the notion that the letter sought to lock away Archer before he could testify before Congress, according to the New York Post, noting that the process of sending Archer to prison would take "several weeks or months" and therefore would not interfere with his testimony.
"Nonetheless, for the avoidance of all doubt, the Government requests that any surrender date, should the Court order one, be scheduled to occur after the defendant’s Congressional testimony is completed," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a second letter to Abrams.
Matthew Schwartz, the lawyer representing Archer, said his client "does not agree" with speculation that the letter was intended to prevent his testimony.
"We are aware of speculation that the Department of Justice’s weekend request to have Mr. Archer report to prison is an attempt by the Biden administration to intimidate him in advance of his meeting with the House Oversight Committee," Schwartz said. "Archer does not agree with that speculation."
Joe Biden has frequently distanced himself from his son's lucrative foreign business dealings.
"I have never discussed with my son or my brother or anyone else anything having to do with their business, period," Biden said in August 2019.
The development comes as Hunter Biden continues to face legal troubles surrounding his alleged tax crimes. A plea deal he made with the DOJ fell apart last week when federal judge Maryellen Noreika rejected the deal and told prosecutors and Biden's legal team to craft a new one.
The original deal would have allowed him to plead guilty to misdemeanor tax crimes and receive immunity on a broad range of criminal charges, all while avoiding jail time. The White House said Biden will not issue a pardon for his son.
Published under: Hunter Biden