Independence County Circuit Judge Don McSpadden this morning amended a previous order in the Hunter Biden paternity case.

The changes, in an order prepared by the attorney for Lunden Alexis Roberts, the Arkansas woman seeking support for a child Biden apparently fathered, specify that both parties in the case must submit by Thursday income tax returns for the last five years and “ALL” financial information and documents pertaining to money they’ve received the last five years. The information is to be filed under seal.

The original order had required Biden to provide his five most recent pay stubs or five previous years of tax returns by Dec. 12 in an affidavit of financial means. The new order makes five years of tax returns mandatory and seemingly broadens required financial record production.

Biden and the circuit clerk have still not resolved this morning an apparent discrepancy in access to some documents filed in the case. In the earlier order, the judge said documents should be made public, but redacted to protect information about the child and personal finances. Biden’s new attorney filed an affidavit of financial means last week that was sealed. He also filed a motion for a protective order and a brief in support of that request that were not made public. The circuit clerk has indicated some confusion on interpreting the judge’s order on what matters should be in the open file in the case. I’ve sought clarification from him and the judge, but neither has responded.

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Biden, son of the vice president, is a key figure in Republican opposition to Donald Trump’s impeachment. Republicans are using his past payment by a Ukraine gas company and a Chinese business to divert attention from Trump’s extortion of Ukraine. He’s a divorcee with three children, a new wife and no current job, as far as anyone knows.

Roberts’ lawyers Clint and Jennifer Lancaster of Benton have strong connections to Arkansas Republican chair Doyle Webb. And while their client has a seemingly solid case for support from Biden, Lancaster’s numerous national press interviews suggest he’s working political angles, too.

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Biden’s original attorneys, the law firm of former Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, recently got off the case for an undisclosed conflict with Biden, who dismissed them. He’s now represented by a Texarkana lawyer, Brent Langdon.

Lancaster is trying to force a deposition by Biden next week. He’s already made clear in earlier filings his interest in Biden’s work in Ukraine. The only apparent relevance of that work in this child support case is 1) whether any money is left and 2) whether there’s the likelihood of similar remuneration in the future. Given current politics, I’d guess the answer to question #2 is no.

UPDATE: There will be no deposition next week. In a subsequent ordered filed today, the judge set a hearing at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 7 on Biden’s motion for a protective order. The extent of the protective order isn’t known because that particular request is still not available on the court website. The hearing was set following a telephone conference with lawyers. But that order quashed the deposition until after the hearing.

UPDATE II: Though the motion for a protective order still isn’t posted online, Roberts’ attorney Lancaster gave a copy to the Democrat-Gazette, which has been favored with his frequent comments on the case. Biden’s attorney wants some limits on questioning and release of information fearing rightly, that it’s a treasure hunt for political dirt on Biden, relevant to Donald Trump but irrelevant in determining child support payments.

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