“Friends” with Benefits? Hunter Biden’s Team Accused of Ethical Violation Before Plea Hearing

Hunter Biden‘s lawyers were accused last night of an ethical violation in misrepresenting their representation in the case. Jessica Bengels of Latham & Watkins, the head of the firm’s litigation group, is accused of lying to the court clerk in seeking to remove an amicus (or “friend of the court”) brief from access to the public. The clerk insisted that Bengels stated that she was representing the amicus, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, who filed the details on recent evidence showing a “sweetheart deal” behind the plea bargain.

The court gave Latham a deadline of last night to respond and it is insisting that this was all due to “an unfortunate and unintentional miscommunication.” They attached an affidavit from Bengels who said that it was all a misunderstanding:

“At around 11.54am, another Court employee called my Latham & Watkins phone number (which I believe she knew through caller ID) to let me know she would be removing the material from the docket. She did not ask which law firm I was affiliated with, and at no time during this call did I mention anything about my law firm affiliation… I believe there may have been some confusion when Julia passed the information on to the other Court employee, resulting in a mistaken understanding that I had called from Mr. Kittila’s firm…I am completely confident that I never indicated that I was calling from Mr. Kittila’s firm or that I worked with him in any way.”

The entire matter could be a misunderstanding, but the clerk clearly did not think so. The problem for Hunter could be a delay in accepting the plea bargain. It is not clear what additional evidence the Court could secure on the issue, but it could want interviews on the record.

I still believe that it is unlikely that the court would refuse to sign off on the plea bargain. Most judges are leery of demanding more charges against a defendant. That is a matter usually left to the discretion of the prosecutors. The investigation and implications of this dubious deal will ultimately be left to Congress.

130 thoughts on ““Friends” with Benefits? Hunter Biden’s Team Accused of Ethical Violation Before Plea Hearing”

  1. The whole thing was crooked and everybody was in on it. The defense team was sure in on it. The prosecutors, were in on it, the Defendent was in on it…..But they forgot to bring in the Judge. This was ALWAYS crooked. Even leftist lawyers could not find any case law to support what was going to happen. Of course, the details were never made public, because the legal reasoning would have been gutted in the first 20 minutes. Even during todays open court hearing, the defense wanted to go into chambers to answer questions. The Judge shut down the notion. She said its all public information. Nothing had to be kept secret. The left even wants to censor court proceedings.
    It is clear, Democrats can only govern in secret.

  2. Well, well, well, they tried to get immunity for crimes that have nothing to do with this case. Like crime family members in the past they thought the fix was in. It looks like Hunter wants a trial. The trial should happen in October of 2024 just before the election. Of course the main stream media won’t cover it and facebook will block any comments about the proceedings of the trial. The New York Times and The Washington Post will mention it on page one hundred and fifty five. The statute of limited damages to the administration has taken a well deserved nose dive. I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut hole that Trump will bring it up at the debates. There’s gonna be a party tonight a party tonight I know.

  3. Before Hunter Biden’s plea deal collapsed, Federal Judge Maryellen Noreika asked the case’s top prosecutor if the deal meant Hunter would be IMMUNE from prosecution for other possible crimes—including those related to representing foreign governments.

    The prosecutor said NO, then one of Hunter’s attorneys jumped up and said “then there’s no deal!”

    Reporters present in the courtroom have said the judge seemed highly skeptical of the “unusual deal” from the get-go, as it offered Hunter Biden BROAD immunity from prosecution in perpetuity.

    The judge questioned why it was filed under a provision that gave her no legal authority to reject it. She then asked Leo Wise, the top prosecutor, if there was any precedent for that kind of deal being proposed.

    He replied, “No, your honor.”



  4. DC_Draino
    Hunter Biden simple recap:

    Plea deal contained secret provision to provide Hunter w/legal immunity for all future federal charges currently under investigation

    Judge said “wtf is this?”

    DOJ & Defense: “well, uhh..umm”

    Judge: Never seen that before. No deal. How do you plead now?

    Hunter: Not guilty

    Hunter’s now going to trial for his crimes
    1:50 PM · Jul 26, 2023


  5. “’Friends’ with Benefits? Hunter Biden’s Team Accused of Ethical Violation Before Plea Hearing”

    – Professor Turley

    “Ethical violations???”

    If these are serious allegations, which they are, what the heck were the multitudinous mountains of “violations” in the ongoing Obama Coup D’etat in America, from FISA fraud to endless malicious prosecutions, on every legal level? All the co-conspirators in the Obama Coup D’etat in America are richly deserving of severe penalties. A couple of hundred years ago in England, when he acted to challenge the authority of the Sovereign as an act of treachery and treason, the perpetrator would be Drawn and Quartered.

    1. George:

      What do you make of the notion of plea bargains to begin with? Constitutional ramifications? Due process? Equal Protection? Leveraging guily pleas? Either you have a case or you don’t? Is government coercion and bluffing Constitutional?

      Legal shortcutting or lawyer’s games?

    2. George: Let’s start a Go-Fund-Me to have them drawn and quartered. Put me down for $250.

  6. It’s really amusing to read the comments from earlier today before the judge blew a hole through Hunter’s balloon.

  7. I am waiting to see Prof. Turley’s comments about Rudy Guiliani’s admission of lying about voter fraud. Come on on Prof. – be just a little even-handed.

      1. Mespo, I believe that you are making a big assumption that RDKAY is capable of reading. While I’m sure that RDKAY knows the basics of the English language, he has only been trained to “understand” and absorb from his “readings” only what conforms with the propaganda that he has been preprogrammed to accept as true. In short, RDKAY won’t get a thing from that document you invited him to “read.” And FishWings, who is similarly preprogrammed, will simply agree with RDJAY.

    1. In countless ways, the left engaged in shenanigans to prevent Trump’s re-election in 2020.

      Even before Trump was elected in 2016, FBI emails document the bureau’s intent to undermine Trump if he got elected.

      On Trump’s inauguration day in 2017, the Washington Post announced the beginning of an effort to have him impeached.

      In 2019, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for rightly asking Ukraine to investigate the Biden family’s corrupt activities in Ukraine.

      Throughout Trump’s first term, Congressional Democrats, the DOJ, federal intelligence agencies, Big Tech, the mainstream news media, and Hillary Clinton perpetuated a Trump-Russia conspiracy story they knew to be a hoax.

      During the 2020 campaign, the federal government, the mainstream news media, and Big Tech censored anything helping Trump or hurting Biden.

      And then, right before election day in 2020, the Biden campaign, the mainstream news media, Big Tech, and the intelligence community prevented the truth about Hunter Biden’s laptop from seeing the light of day.

    2. Did he admit to “lying”,, or simply to making false statements based on his knowledge at the time? IOW did he KNOWINGLY make a false statement? If not, where’s the malice needed to sustain an action for defamation? Also, did he make those false statements while under oath? Pretty weak tea, it seems to me.

    3. Depends on what the meaning of “lying” is. And what the meaning of “admission” is.

  8. People everywhere in the Biden crime saga—including the federal judge who is balking at signing off on Hunter’s sleazy-assed plea deal—are asking themselves whether they want to go down in history as helping the most corrupt presidential family in American history escape justice.

    1. Swampland: Time for calling in the professional obfuscation: Lanny Davis. When you see his talking head, we’ll know they’re in trouble.

  9. Professor,
    I look forward to your later article about the plea deal fall apart and the newly reviled sweetheart deal details.

    1. “From the start, the judge seemed highly skeptical of the unusual deal — which offered Hunter Biden broad immunity from prosecution in perpetuity, questioning why it had been filed under a provision that gave her no legal authority to reject it. When she asked Leo Wise, a prosecutor, if there was any precedent for the kind of deal being proposed, he replied, ‘No, your honor.’”

      1. Mespo: Do you think Wise would have gone along with it had the judge not asked him? Seems like it. Both sides are corrupt here.

        1. Bob Lawblaw:

          “Mespo: Do you think Wise would have gone along with it had the judge not asked him? Seems like it. Both sides are corrupt here.”
          Wise is a guy on the make. Read that article from Baltimore. Nobody can stand the guy and he’s not above invading attorney-cl;ient privilege to “get the bad guy.” Here though, he’s Mary as in Mary had a little lamb whose fleecing was obvious as snow. He gave Ba-Ba Biden the sweetest of sweetheart deals and, as the nursery rhyme goes:

          “Why does the lamb love Mary so? Mary so, Mary so?

          Why does the lamb love Mary so? The eager children smiled,

          Mary loves the lamb, you know, Lamb, you know, lamb, you know”

          Indeed, we know why and so did the Judge.

        1. JAFO:

          Here’s betting some Clinton stooge “beams him up.” He’s the weak link now.

  10. Just remember, Hunter. Joe would have never asked Beau to do what he asked you to do. How’s that for tough love?

  11. “ I still believe that it is unlikely that the court would refuse to sign off on the plea bargain. “

    Oops, looks like you missed this one. Just heard that plea deal has fallen apart and Hunter has pled not guilty.

    1. Did anyone know about the sweetheart deal before today? I mean, global immunity while the overall investigation is still ongoing? Till today, no one heard about that.

  12. Jonathan: Some on your blog have accused me of an unnatural and unwarranted fixation with Donald J. Trump in my comments. My focus on DJT is warranted because as long as he is walking and talking, free as a bird, he is a threat to our Democracy. Compare my comments to those of yours. Just this week, and it’s only Wednesday, you have posted SIX columns about the Biden family–including the one about Joe Biden’s dog Commander! Really? The subject of an owner’s liability for the behavior of his dog might be of interest to first year law students in Torts classes but as a subject of national discussion? Really? So if a spend a lot of time in my comments talking about the crimes of DJT I think I should, at least, be given the latitude to do what you have done in the past week.

    That said I agree that Judge Noreika will likely approve the plea agreement with David Weiss–notwithstanding the apparent misunderstanding in the communications between the court clerk and a someone in the law office representing Hunter Biden. Especially, since Judge Noreika probably doesn’t want to get involved in outside parties urgings to refuse to approve what is otherwise a minor misdemeanor plea agreement. The two outside parties are Rep. Jason Smith, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and the conservative Heritage Foundation. Both want Judge Noreika to either reject the plea agreement or allow these outside parties to submit evidence the plea agreement was tainted by undue political influence by the Biden DOJ. So far, none of the three MAGA House Committees have been able to come up with anything to support their claims. David Weiss has categorically denied the claims of Jordan, Comer and Smith. So I doubt Judge Noreika wants to go down that rabbit hole by holding what would amount to evidentiary hearings.

    The big Q is why Smith and the Heritage Foundation, who are not parties in the case, are trying to prevent court approval of the plea agreement? .By signing off on the plea bargain Judge Noreika would give a court’s good housekeeping seal of approval that Hunter Biden was only guilty of evading taxes and lying on a gun registration form–not the vast conspiracy to commit bribery and other crimes the MAGA Republicans and you have been pushing for months. So trying to get Judge Noreika to reject the plea agreement is a last ditch effort to prevent the inevitable collapse of that case. I guess you realize the futility of trying to get Judge Noreika to save the day for the MAGA Republicans!

    1. Dennis
      You write ‘what is otherwise a minor misdemeanor plea agreement”, what would you consider a major infraction of tax avoidance? You lose creditability making that statement regardless of the amount that was avoided; it was an intentional act of avoidance. If avoidance of law is acceptable to you then why have any laws?

      Now on to another statement, your implied insult of House Committees as being MAGA is accepted, as the definition of MAGA is Make America Great Again. If the committees succeed in ridding the United States of a: feeble, frail, enervated and insipid minded harlequin (as in the Middle French meaning) this United States of America will better off.

    2. THIS ^^^^ is what a brainwashed MISINFORMED, disinformed, LIED to, MessNBC-watching useful idiot sounds like ^^^^

      Newsflash: Joe Biden is the current president, not Donald Trump.

    3. long as he is walking and talking, free as a bird, he is a threat to our Democracy.

      You are arguing from a conclusion that you NEVER attach any evidence to support. I see you leftist make the broad accusations, bit never provide evidence that supports your claims

      1. Iowan2,
        That is correct.
        They never say how he is a threat to democracy.
        But they repeat is over and over again with no evidence.
        It is the Democrat party that is the greatest threat to democracy as they push for censorship, attempt to circumvent the 2ndA, force so-called green policies on everyone, fight against parents rights, an unsecured Southern border and fight against voter ID laws that strengthen voter integrity.
        They are the true threats to democracy.

        1. UF:
          “But they repeat is over and over again with no evidence.”
          They got that ancient Roman thing going but instead of ceaselessly chanting “Carthago delenda est, (Carthage must be destroyed)” it’s “Trump delenda est.” Not very original these Dims.

    4. Dennis: I’m not in favor of giving Trump a pass…but the guy was impeached, twice! That’s a new record. And, may I courteously remind you that Trump is NOT THE SITTING PRESIDENT YOU IDIOIT. Take all the time you want to prosecute trump if you need to, but DO NOT let a criminal president continue to destroy our democracy. Do you get it now? Trump has no influence on spending, on the border, on foreign relations, on the wall, on the botched withdraw and the giving of billions of dollars of weaponry in Afghanistan to the Taliban. In terms of priority, Biden is at the top of my list because his finger is on the button, not Trumps. DO YOU NOT GET THAT?

  13. I have not followed Hunter’s tax cheat issues, but it appears to be a colossal middle finger to the IRS

    You’d Go to Prison for What Hunter Biden Did

    Last week U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler sentenced Gabriel M. Ferrari, owner of a Linden auto-repair shop, to one year and one day in prison after Mr. Ferrari pleaded guilty to filing a false company tax return. His return failed to include all his income and claimed deductions for personal expenses, including gambling on horse races. In addition to the prison term, he will be required to pay restitution. Prison for tax crimes is real. In the 1990s, New York hotelier Leona Helmsley served nearly two years in prison for defrauding the government by having her business pay her personal expenses and claim tax deductions for them.

    so yeah, two tiered legal system.

    Then there is this beauty:

    ….the IRS investigation of Hunter Biden began “as an offshoot of an investigation the IRS was conducting into a foreign-based amateur online pornography platform.” Agents established that, for the six years 2014 through 2019, Mr. Biden failed to report or pay tax on perhaps $17.3 million he received from questionable sources. He filed returns several years late, and when he did file them, he claimed as business deductions the cost of his drug dealer’s hotel room, call girls, sex-club dues and his daughter’s tuition at Columbia University.

    OTOH, Joseph Biden is showing courageous fatherly love for his son.

    OTOH2, Joseph Biden and his son are examples of toxic masculinity. Hunter has the receipts with hookers, and Joseph refuses to acknowledge his granddaughter, Navy, so there ya go

    when a person is an addict, everyone in the family becomes sick. Hunter is an addict, dry or active, still an addict. Joseph and Jill are enablers making them just as sick as Hunter. That all of them are allowed to carry on as royalty makes all Americans sick.

    1. Having dealt with the IRS on behalf of others, I can tell you that if you agree to pay what you owe, plus penalties and interest, and if you cooperate with their investigation, you are unlikely to go to prison. It’s only if you submit false deductions, like Leona Helmsley, who tried to deduct her girdle as a business expense, or engage in insider trading and then lie about it, or have been involved in other illegal acts, that you might get into trouble. Hunter has paid his taxes.

      And, it is truly cheap to bring into any discussion about Joe Biden’s integrity the matter of Hunter’s sexual activity, including the child claimed to be his. That’s nothing but a cheap shot, and using a child as a political pawn is really low. Hunter suffered the loss of his mother and sister in a car crash, and his older brother, Beau, died of brain cancer. That’s enough trauma for anyone’s lifetime, and addiction is an illness that he has worked to overcome. For Republicans to keep harping about him to try to score political points as an indirect attack against his father, despite any proof that JOE Biden did anything wrong, especially since this is calculated to deflect from Trump’s actual crimes that affect American democracy, is disgusting.

      1. If Republicans do not begin IMPEACHMENT of Biden and Garland immediately they are done as a political party. Finished.

      2. Poor gigi

        God help anyone who was represented by your uninformed ass. Hunter claimed payments to prostitutes as deductions.

  14. 10 minute recess .. .

    “U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika, appointed by Donald Trump, pressed about the terms of the deal that was struck with U.S. Attorney David Weiss of Delaware, another Trump appointee who was kept on by President Joe Biden to oversee the case.

    There were questions about whether the gun charge was tied to the plea deal.

    Noreika asked if there were more serious charges that could still be brought and the prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s lawyer both said there were not.

    Noreika later asked if the investigation was ongoing, to which Weiss responded that it was, but said he could not share any further details.” ~ story

    1. The three-hour hearing featured several turbulent interludes. Noreika’s line of questioning about an immunity agreement exposed fissures between the two parties, with the discussion culminating in prosecutors threatening to bring foreign agent charges, prompting Chris Clark, an attorney for Biden, to say: “As far as I’m concerned, the plea agreement is null and void.”


      Being in foreign agent charges? what does that mean?

      1. Violation(s) of FARA

        The Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) imposes disclosure requirements and other legal obligations on any individual or entity that becomes an “agent of a foreign principal” unless an exemption applies.

    1. Violence. It is what Democrats and Republicans demand. Maxine Waters, Democrat, started us on this path, then Kamala Harris with christening ANTIFA BLM to be fruitful and multiple with violence, Nancy Pelosi expressing shock people were not rioting in the streets and so forth. That obese, old, out of shape Trump supporters tackled Capitol Hill, to be greeted and waltzed by Capitol Hill police, then take selfies without any BLM ANTIFA masks, can not be forgiven by the blossoming Marxist Democrats. Ergo, violence must follow, according to a recent Univ of Chicago Survey, which may or may not be partisan

      JULY 2023 SURVEY REPORT: Tracking Deep Distrust of Democratic Institutions, Conspiracy Beliefs, and Support for Political Violenc Among Americans.

      Summary of July Survey

      Original Survey Results

      NB: No mention of Democrats “summer of love” 2020, BLM, ANTIFA, violence against Trump Cabinet members prior to 2020, Trump’s name is mentioned 92 times Biden 8 times, Obama and Hillary zero times

      1. Estovir,
        Just got the chance to read the survey.
        Very interesting.
        And disturbing.

        1. i never read an analysis or summary of a study, survey, etc. I always go for the actual data. be suspicious of everything.

          The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.

          ― St Augustine of Hippo

    2. Professor Turley,

      If you do not mind, when you discuss Hunter’s Plea Deal falling apart could you consider addressing some of the different aspects of this deal that any impartial Judge (I do believe many Federal Judges are above politics) would balk at/scrutinize in accepting such a plea deal. “Skeptical” is the word that comes to mind when presented with such a fluid evolving situation. Certainly, judges should close their ears to the Political aspects, however their ears have to be open to what Prosecutors are saying… I’m an attorney, I have had a gut feeling for some time that the Judge (or any Judge) would have serious reservations about accepting this plea deal, thus it could fall apart. I do know that Judge’s scrutinize deals all the time as “not being in the public interest.” I have of five areas of questions to consider:

      1. As a general matter, don’t most all federal plea deals generally resolve most all of the legal charges/investigations that the Defendant may be charged? This deal seemed extremely limited as to what it resolved (2 years of back taxes), leaving Hunter’s future legal jeopardy very murky–for prosecution and defendant alike. The Agreement itself would have to be so detailed, complex, and lengthy, to just explain what is resolved and to what limit, and what is not; thus how the future exposure looks–akin to a very complex business transaction. This just does not seem normal in the general criminal resolution realm. No how the agreement is written the attorneys would argue about what is or is not perhaps subject to double-jeopardy. I’m not sure there is even a full-proof way to not have terms be ambiguous to a certain degree. Wasn’t this sort of a Double-Jeopardy trap for the Judge?;

      2. On the gun charge. In my experience, all Federal Judges tend to come very down hard on these types of charges. State courts can sometimes be all over the place, however federal courts are generally closer. Isn’t a normal consideration for a Judge to make sure there is a semblance of “equal justice under the law.” Was this deferred prosecution so lenient that it just is not comparable similar dispositions in that District or adjacent districts in that circuit;

      3. Once it was disclosed to the Judge that there are indeed more investigations going on, isn’t it incumbent on the Judge to at least continue, until they have an idea of what might be pending and other issues out there? Wouldn’t this revelation alone require an update of the Pre-Sentance Report? In compiling the report, Hunter had to make certain representations, those could be erroneous as of today, and the attorneys are duty bound not to permit false information in records before the Court;

      4. I would imagine at a minimum this disposition would at least cover all investigations made by David Weiss’s office (i.e. Delaware)? How could they accept such a limited plea deal leaving other legal investigations by Weiss’s office remaining. What if there is an offense/potential offense in another Federal Jurisdiction, however it was briefly touched on or disclosed to Weiss’s office. In envisioning a Plea Agreement, wouldn’t the prosecutor need to spell out exclusions from the Agreement. This could be many pages.

      5. With all that is going on, why did they proceed to a plea entry/sentencing hearing the 1st place? It makes sense to me that the Judge and/or attorneys for both parties would want to continuance, in order to brief this (i.e. sort of update the pre-sentance report), flush out the contested issues, and advocate why this plea is in the “public interest.”

      Thanks for your consideration of discussing some of these issues. This is my 1st post.

  15. Dear Prof Turley,

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this dog is yet another Trump-appointed official .. . and you can’t blame Biden for that.

    *Ukraine . .. Master and Commander; Far Side of The World.

  16. You know who else calls up on the phone pretending to be someone else? Donald Trump a/k/a John Barron.

    1. Try that again: You know who else calls up a court of law on the phone pretending to be someone else?

      We’ll wait…

    2. I have no idea if the Trump story is true.

      What I do know is that Trump has not called up Courts trying to interfere in prosecutions.

      When Trump wants to Rant – he does so Very loudly and in public.

  17. With the investigatory agencies of the U.S. regime in bed with the lapdog MSM, the parasitically criminal Biden Family is untouchable.

    Professor Turley needs new rotting from the head fish to fry.

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