Hunter Biden’s lawyers suggest his case is tainted by claims of ex-FBI informant charged with lying

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden’s lawyers suggested Tuesday that claims by a former FBI informant accused of masterminding a bribery scheme involving the presidential family may have tainted the case against the president’s son.

The gun and tax charges against Hunter Biden are separate from the claims of the informant, Alexander Smirnov, who has been charged with masterminding a bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son and a Ukrainian energy company.

But Hunter Biden’s lawyers say the talk about the informant contributed to the collapse of the plea deal offered to Hunter Biden last summer.

The filing comes as Hunter Biden continues his public offensive over claims about his professional life and drug use that have been at the center of congressional investigations and an impeachment inquiry that aims to tie his business dealings to his father.

The president’s son is accused of lying on a form about his drug use to buy a gun in 2018. He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers say a photo prosecutors used as evidence of cocaine use was actually a photo of sawdust sent by him. therapist to encourage him to stay clean.

The Justice Department’s special prosecutor overseeing the case against him also filed the charges against Smirnov last week. He is accused of falsely reporting to the FBI in June 2020 that executives linked to Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million each in 2015 or 2016.

But before that case was filed, the prosecutor followed the informant “down his rabbit hole of lies,” attorneys said in court documents. The special prosecutor’s office began investigating Smirnov’s claims three years after he originally reported them to his handler, in July 2023. The plea deal imploded around the same time, after prosecutors indicated an investigation into bribery allegations remained open , attorneys said in court documents. .

A spokesman for special counsel David Weiss declined to comment. Prosecutors have previously said the evidence against Hunter Biden is “overwhelming,” including cocaine residue found on the baggie where his gun was kept, and rejected the defense’s claim that the charges were politically motivated.

Hunter Biden is also facing charges in Los Angeles, accused of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes while living an “extravagant lifestyle.” Both cases date back to the time he admitted to being addicted to drugs.

The cases were filed by special counsel David Weiss, who also accused Smirnov of lying to the FBI in an indictment filed last week. Smirnov’s lawyers are calling for his release.

The charges against Hunter Biden were filed after the collapse of a plea deal that would have avoided the possibility of a trial while his father campaigned for another term as president. However, the deal imploded during a hearing in July, around the same time prosecutors from the special counsel’s office began investigating the informant’s claims at the request of the FBI, court documents show.


Associated Press writer Rio Yamat in Las Vegas contributed to this report.