Hunter Biden fought to exclude testimony about his laptop from his child support dispute, saying it was "not relevant" because the device was "abandoned sometime in 2019" and because the financial records on it are outdated, according to a court motion unsealed this week.
In the April 20 filing, Biden’s high-priced legal team doesn't dispute the authenticity of the records on the laptop, though it continues to play coy about whether the laptop is his. His lawyers said the motion was "not an acknowledgment of ownership or abandonment" of the device.
"Evidence of Defendant's income from three years ago and beyond would not tend to prove his income today," said Biden's lawyers. "Thus, the Court should exclude any expert testimony related to the laptop as not relevant."
It's the latest legal hedging from Biden, who has refused to directly admit ownership of the laptop even as his lawyers have acknowledged it contains his personal data.
Biden is fighting to reduce his child support payments to Lunden Alexis Roberts, the mother of his four-year-old daughter. He had agreed to pay her $20,000-per-month in a closed-door settlement in 2020, shortly after his father announced his presidential campaign. But the president's son now claims he is financially strapped and can't afford the payments.
The motion highlights concerns in the Biden camp that the Arkansas dispute will open Hunter Biden up to questions about the laptop's contents during his under oath deposition. The subject could be legally dicey for Hunter Biden—who is facing a tax investigation by the Department of Justice and a probe into his business dealings by the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability—as well as his father, who just formally launched his presidential reelection bid.
Roberts's lawyer, Clinton Lancaster, has indicated that he will make the laptop records an issue in the case. He recently retained Garrett Ziegler—a Republican political operative who compiled a 600-page report on the laptop's contents—as an expert witness.
"Have you seen [Ziegler's] work with the laptop?" Lancaster wrote to one of Biden's attorneys in an email last month.
"We anticipate having him testify at our trial," added Lancaster. "The guy is a bona fide Hunter Biden expert."
In the motion, which was withdrawn this week by Biden's lawyers, they asked the court to disqualify Ziegler.
Biden's legal team didn't give a reason for withdrawing the motion. The decision came after a public hearing in which the judge in the case asked one of Biden's lawyers, Brent Langdon, to clarify if Biden owned the laptop mentioned in the filing. Langdon said he was unsure, and the judge said Biden would need to show up in court to answer such questions.
The filing is the latest example of Biden's evasion on the laptop, which he reportedly abandoned at a computer repair shop in 2019. Democrats and media outlets initially claimed the laptop was a "Russian disinformation" operation after the New York Post first reported on it in 2020. The computer has been the source of a series of damaging reports about the Biden family and contains records about the Biden family's foreign business dealings during Joe Biden's vice presidency.
Hunter Biden in 2021 said he had "no idea" if the device was his and raised the possibility that he "was hacked" or "that it was Russian intelligence." But in February, his lawyer Abbe Lowell in a letter to the Delaware attorney general indicated that the laptop contained "gigabytes of Mr. Biden's personal data." In March, Biden also sued the computer repairman who shared the abandoned laptop's contents with Republican political operatives.