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Arkansas judge orders Hunter Biden to appear in court in child support case

By Ben Marquis
|
April 25, 2023

A hearing was held last week in an Arkansas courtroom in the reopened paternity suit involving Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, and the mother of a young girl whom he fathered during a 2017 affair.

The judge overseeing the case ordered that both Biden and the mother, Lunden Roberts, appear in person for all future hearings in order to satisfy her unanswered questions and minimize further delays, the Daily Mail reported.

The paternity case, which had previously been settled and closed, was reopened last year when Biden filed a motion to recalculate his child support payments due to an alleged loss of income, which prompted a flurry of countermotions and discovery requests from Roberts about Biden's finances.

The order for Biden to appear in court in person for future hearings came as a result of Biden's attorney being unable or unwilling to answer the judge's questions about Biden's infamous abandoned laptop, which Roberts' attorneys claim contains relevant information about his financial situation.

"Is it your client's laptop or not?"

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Independence County Circuit Judge Holly Meyer issued an order during a Monday hearing on Zoom for both Biden and Roberts to appear in person for the next scheduled hearing on May 1 and all future hearings in the case.

"From now on," Judge Meyer said to the attorneys from both sides, "I want both of your clients at every hearing I conduct. I will no longer allow us to excuse clients because it is interfering with the progress of litigation, which is taking way too long to get over simple points."

That order followed a mention of Biden's laptop by his attorney, Brent Langdon, who suggested that the device was still in a Delaware computer repair shop but then seemingly refused to confirm whether the laptop actually belonged to his client. The issue was raised in response to a motion by Roberts' attorneys to include as an expert witness on the laptop a former aide to President Donald Trump named Garret Zeigler.

"There has never been, to my knowledge, an acknowledgment that this so-called laptop – he continuously calls it Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop ..." Langdon said of Zeigler. He was cut off by Judge Meyer, though, who said, "Well, let's clear that issue up right now. Is it your client's laptop or not?"

Langon replied, "Your honor, I'm not involved in all of that stuff. It's not my client's laptop as far as I know."

Meyer then asked, "Is it your client's position, you're representing to this court, that it is not his laptop?" to which the attorney responded, "Your honor, I am not in a position to even begin to answer that question."

Biden called out over alleged failure to respond to "specific discovery" requests

That hearing on Monday followed a motion filed on Friday by Roberts' attorneys, according to NWAOnline, who asserted that Biden was "playing games with this court" and refusing to turn over "specific discovery" as ordered by the judge.

The motion referenced a hearing in February during which Judge Meyer had entered a protective order to shield Biden's personal and financial information from being publicly revealed as part of the discovery process.

Yet, "In those two months [since Feb. 22], the defendant has provided no additional discovery – not so much as one single item or word – and has failed to supplement his answers at the court's directive," Roberts attorney Jennifer Lancaster wrote in the motion. "There is no valid excuse or justification for the defendant's failure to provide the required disclosures as the court has granted every single protective order the defendant has asked for since the inception of this case."

The motion added that Biden was "engaging in vexatious litigation practices" that had unnecessarily driven up attorneys fees for Roberts and included a request for the judge to order Biden to cover those extra costs that had been incurred.

Biden must satisfy discovery requests by May 22

As for the motion to include Zeigler as an expert witness with regard to Biden's laptop, the Daily Mail reported that Biden's attorney filed a countermotion to block that move in light of allegations that Zeigler was biased and had harassed and invaded the privacy of Biden in his investigation of the laptop.

However, the motion from Lancaster said, "The last time I checked, the opposing party does not get to choose the other party's expert witness," and added, "Even if Mr. Zeigler were not an expert, which he is a bona fide expert on Hunter Biden, I would hire him as a staff member of my law firm for his work on this case."

The outlet noted that in addition to ordering both Biden and Roberts to appear in person for all future hearings beginning on May 1, Judge Meyer also set a date of May 22 for Biden to comply with all discovery requests – particularly with regard to the laptop and art work sales – ahead of a trial that is tentatively scheduled for late July, and warned against further delays as she ordered, "No continuance will be granted unless for good cause shown."