For those of us who have closely followed the Hunter Biden scandal, one figure remains mysterious in his role in the possible tax violations by the President’s son. Kevin Morris is a wealthy entertainment lawyer who reportedly paid off as much as $2.8 million in back taxes for Hunter. I have previously discussed the relationship and expressed uncertainty as to whether Morris was acting as a friend or a lawyer (use of personal funds in a representational matter can present ethical issues). Now, Morris is the subject of an ethics complaint by the conservative group Marco Polo, which lured him into a hoax exchange over disproving the laptop allegations.
In the aftermath of the New York Times and other media admitting that the Hunter Biden laptop was authentic all along, President Biden has shifted from his long denial of any wrongdoing to a type of addiction defense.
Morris received a text from “Jon Cooper” on May 19 saying he worked with an “OpSec [operations security] collective who has been breaking down the laptop.” Morris took the bait in encouraging Cooper to share material on discrediting those who were using the laptop to implicate the Bidens. At one point, according to the Daily Mail, Morris tells Cooper “You know this is historic, right? Like you’re a hero. Like for reals.”
Morris allegedly threatened with the group’s association and engaged in unprofessional language after learning that he had been hoodwinked by the emails.
Morris was allegedly eager to get the faux researcher to produce material to deny the story.
Morris reportedly called the associate a “f***ing moron’, ‘f***nuts” and threatened that “I’m going to take all your money.” He added that “I know where you live” and “You’re going to enjoy being a buttboy for 20 years dude. Lube up.”
We have previously discussed such bullying rhetoric from lawyers like Michael Cohen. I have long denounced such threats as a scourge in our profession. Cohen, however, was disbarred for his crimes, not for his abusive conduct as a lawyer.
I am always a bit skeptical of such complaints, which can raise free speech issues in the curtailment of public speech. This includes past cases where I have opposed discipline for public criticism of judges.
This complaint, however, returns to the dangerously vague relationship between Morris and Biden. Was this an attorney-client relationship or a persona relationship? If it was the latter, the effort to discipline Morris would be even more problematic in my view.
In seeking to dismiss this action, Morris will have to add some clarity on that relationship. If he was acting as counsel, his financial transactions made prove more damaging then his verbal transgressions.