The political use of the paternity case against Hunter Biden in Independence County continues, with some unintentional help by court officials trying to cope,
I reported Thursday that Lunden Alexis Roberts, the Arkansas woman seeking support for a child Biden apparently fathered, and Biden, had filed court-ordered financial statements. I updated the item yesterday to note that while Roberts’ filing was online, Biden’s were not, including a motion for a protective order. I attempted without success to get the judge’s office or circuit clerk to explain the lack of online access to Biden’s motion and to release portions that didn’t contain protected information. The lack of access drew much larger attention today from the Democrat-Gazette, which has marked the sparrow’s fall in this case for its political implications.
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Circuit Judge Don McSpadden has issued an order sealing information about the child and personal financial information (routinely done on request in such cases). But he has said redacted versions of motions in the case should be public. This is a sensible course. He’s provided for filing of two versions of information — one complete version for parties in the case and a redacted version for public viewing.
The circuit clerk seemed to have difficulties in deciding what should be made public when faced with a request from Biden’s new attorney that the latest filings not be made public. I hope the judge will clear that up soon and ensure public filing of redacted materials. The financial statement is clearly off-limits. But a request for a protective order, which both sides have filed, should be public, absent any personal information it might contain. The judge’s ultimate decision on child support in this case will be public and, if he follows judicial custom, it will reveal some basis for how he arrived at the decision. This likely will give some peek into the finances of Biden, who once made a lot of money for his controversial employment by a Ukraine gas company and a Chinese business. He says he’s now unemployed and fairly recently remarried, with three children by his first wife in his past. How much could he be reasonably be expected to make and how much should he provide for the child along with other obligations? That’s on the judge’s plate.
Roberts’ lawyer, who has Republican connections, had been flogging the case with the national press until the judge warned attorneys about it. The benefit of press interviews to the child was always dubious. The benefit of publicizing Hunter Biden’s problems is, on the other hand, of great benefit to Donald Trump, who’s busy attempting in impeachable ways to trash Biden’s father Joe, the leading Democratic presidential challenger. Hunter Biden, who traded on his family name, also got a gratuitous smear for his drug use during the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing Thursday. Dana Milbank’s column in the Washington Post on this episode by the odious Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is worth a read. There really is no bottom with this bunch.
One point that might be worth mentioning in the discussion of court filings in Independence County:
While much has now been made of lack of public access to Biden’s latest filing, the Roberts attorney’s response on the financial statement issue IS online. But take a look at what it reveals. Spoiler: Its 11 pages are wholly redacted, as a sample page shows, except for sn opening sentence, title pages and signatures.