Hunter Biden’s defence attorney asked to withdraw from the federal case against his client – regarding tax offenses and a gun possession charge – because he said he could be called as a witness in the future.
Christopher Clark, Mr Biden’s lawyer, filed a motion with the Delaware judge on Tuesday.
“Based on recent developments, it appears that the negotiation and drafting of the plea agreement and diversion agreement will be contested, and Mr Clark is a percipient witness to those issues,” the filing states.
“Under the ‘witness-advocate’ rule, it is inadvisable for Mr Clark to continue as counsel in this case,” it continued.
“Withdrawal will not cause a substantial hardship to Mr Biden because counsel from the other firms that have entered an appearance will continue to represent Mr Biden in this matter,” the filing said.
The move comes after an 11 August filing by prosecutors, led by David Weiss, who was granted special counsel status, asking the court to cancel its request that both sides reach a renewed agreement on the plea deal “since there is no longer a plea agreement or diversion agreement for the Court to consider.”
Both parties are at an “impasse” regarding the tax charges and the parties haven’t reached a “diversion agreement” regarding the gun possession charge, Mr Weiss wrote.
Days later, on Sunday, Mr Biden’s attorneys argued in a filing that the Justice Department decided to “renege” on its side of the deal on tax charges; the gun charge agreement also contains an immunity clause against federal prosecutions for some other potential crimes. His lawyers also wrote that the parties have a “valid and binding bilateral Diversion Agreement.”
In response on Tuesday, prosecutors wrote in a filing that it “did not ‘renege’ on the ‘previously agreed-upon Plea Agreement.’”
The special counsel wrote that because the Chief United States Probation Officer “did not approve the now-withdrawn diversion agreement, it never went into effect and, therefore, none of its terms are binding on either party.”
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