Hunter Biden used the coronavirus as an excuse to skip a child support hearing.
The son of former Vice President Joe Biden sought to skip a family court deposition scheduled this week, citing the deadly outbreak of COVID-19, his wife’s pregnancy, and media scrutiny of his business, the Daily Caller reported. The judge in the case dismissed his “duplicitous” reasons — but in a surprise, Fox News reports that Hunter Biden and an Arkansas woman have reached a “global, final settlement of all issues” regarding custody of their child.
As COVID-19 causes disruptions to life, business, and travel for countless Americans, for some, it’s apparently an opportunity. In a court filing, Hunter Biden’s lawyers sought to delay a Wednesday hearing, citing COVID-19 and the danger that travel would expose to their client, his wife, and their baby. Hunter Biden’s wife Melissa is expected to give birth in about two and a half weeks.
“It is unsafe for the Defendant to travel, as travel restrictions have been implemented both domestically and internationally, particularly on airlines, due to the Coronavirus,” Biden’s lawyers argued, according to the Daily Caller. “Setting aside personal endangerment, Defendant reasonably believes that such travel unnecessarily exposes his wife and unborn child to this virus.”
Reflecting the seriousness of the crisis, President Donald Trump addressed the nation Wednesday night and announced a 30-day travel ban to and from Europe. While there are no domestic travel restrictions, some airlines have cut down on domestic flights amid a steep drop off in traffic, the New York Post reports.
But in a Tuesday ruling, Independence County Circuit Court Judge Holly Meyer wrote that the pregnancy was “well known to all” when the hearing was scheduled and that, in spite of interruptions from the coronavirus, “life and work will and should continue in our communities and our courts” and that “no health threat specific to the defendant has been identified.”
There is (or was) a faint possibility that the case would shed light on Hunter Biden’s business dealings, Fox News notes, as lawyers for Lunden Alexis Roberts had sought to hold Hunter in contempt for withholding financial records. A DNA test in November confirmed that Robert’s baby is Biden’s, and Biden had agreed to pay some child support, under threat of contempt from the court, backdated to November 2018.
But the parties made a surprise announcement Wednesday that a settlement had been reached, pending the court’s approval. “The parties have reached a compromised settlement to resolve all remaining issues and will be submitting a final order to the Court for approval,” Biden’s lawyer said, according to Page Six.
The controversy is just one of several tabloid-worthy exploits involving Hunter Biden that have clouded his father’s run for the White House. The younger Biden’s business interests in Ukraine have attracted intense media scrutiny, especially after President Trump was impeached for allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate Hunter and his father.
President Trump has vowed to keep making Hunter’s Ukraine business a campaign issue, and in seeking to avoid court, Hunter cited the “intense media scrutiny” of the child custody case in light of his father’s presidential candidacy. But Judge Meyer shot down that excuse, too.
“The Court cannot foresee this subsiding as Mr. Biden is a public figure and interest in his person will continue,” she wrote, according to Page Six.
Joe Biden is the presumed Democratic nominee for president after a stunning Super Tuesday comeback and another string of victories this week. Indeed, media interest in Hunter’s misadventures probably isn’t going away any time soon.