Hunter Biden ordered to appear in Batesville courtroom

Judge in paternity lawsuit wants parties at all hearings

FILE - Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, boards Air Force One with the president, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, N.Y.
FILE - Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, boards Air Force One with the president, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, N.Y.

Hunter Biden must appear in all court hearings in his Arkansas paternity case, including an in-person hearing scheduled for Monday, May 1, in Batesville, a judge ruled on Monday.

Independence County Circuit Judge Holly Meyer expressed frustration during a Zoom hearing Monday with attorneys for Biden and Lunden Roberts, the mother of Biden's 4-year-old daughter.

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

Meyer made the comments after Brent Langdon, who is representing Biden in the paternity case, mentioned a laptop computer that Biden reportedly left at a repair shop.

Langdon said Garrett Ziegler, a potential expert witness in the case, professes to be an expert on the contents of the laptop, which reportedly contains some income-tax records.

Langdon said he was prepared to answer discovery in the case.

"My concern is that I am handing the discovery over to Ziegler, who I do not believe is an expert qualified in this case and therefore would not be entitled to obtain the records," Langdon said.

Langdon wants to exclude Ziegler as an expert witness in the case. Langdon also wants a temporary restraining order to keep Ziegler from making public any of Biden's financial information.

Meyer said it wasn't clear whether the income-tax records had already been made public.

"Mr. Langdon, I appreciate that you don't want any intimate details of your client's life or financial life to be [made public], but we've got to discuss these things to get to the matter of this," Meyer said.

To issue a temporary restraining order, Meyer said she needed some proof that a protective order she issued earlier had been violated.

"An expert who you don't like and may or may not be qualified as an expert, which will be determined later, talking about tax returns that might otherwise be publicly available and transactions that might otherwise be publicly available, I can't put a gag order on the whole world," said Meyer.

"Your honor, I can appreciate that, but it's not publicly available, other than through Mr. Ziegler. That's how it's publicly available," said Langdon. "There has never been, to my knowledge, an acknowledgment that this so-called laptop -- he continuously calls it Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop. ..."

"Well, let's clear that issue up right now," said Meyer. "Is it your client's laptop or not?"

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

Meyer said she holds clients to what their attorneys say in court.

"Is it your client's position, you're representing to this court, that it is not his laptop?" the judge asked.

"Your honor, I am not in a position to even begin to answer that question," said Langdon.

Meyer declined to issue a restraining order.

Each side claims the other is in contempt of court -- Ziegler for unauthorized disclosure of financial information, and Biden for failing to comply with discovery.

Discovery is the formal process of exchanging information between the parties about the witnesses and evidence they'll present at trial, according to the American Bar Association.

Meyer scheduled an in-person show-cause hearing for 9 a.m. Monday, May 1, at the Independence County courthouse in Batesville.

"We will take up the mutual contempt issues, the motion to exclude Mr. Ziegler and the motion to compel discovery at our next hearing," said Meyer.

Roberts has a daughter who was born in August 2018. A paternity suit followed in May 2019.

A DNA test showed, "with near scientific certainty," that Hunter Biden is the girl's father, Meyer declared in a January 2020 order. That month, the parties agreed on temporary child support until the issue was resolved.

In March 2020, Biden and Roberts reached an agreement to settle their paternity and child-support suit. His request to have his child support payments adjusted re-opened the case last year.

In December, Roberts' attorneys filed a motion to change the child's last name to Biden, saying "the Biden name is now synonymous with being well educated, successful, financially acute, and politically powerful."

A four-page rebuttal by Biden's attorney demanded "strict proof thereof that such request is in the best interest of the child."

Meyer has scheduled a bench trial for July 24-25 in Batesville.

Meyer entered a written protective order March 27, saying "all information about or related to child support including affidavits of financial means is confidential information or confidential financial information and shall be sealed."

Roberts' attorneys, Clinton and Jennifer Lancaster, say Biden hasn't provided discovery and has "failed to supplement his answers at the court's directive," according to a court filing.

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