Hunter Biden withdraws motion for new trial in gun case after prosecutor reveals he misunderstood appellate procedures

By 
 July 10, 2024

After Hunter Biden was convicted on a trio of federal felony gun charges in Delaware last month, his attorneys filed a motion requesting the conviction be vacated and a new trial be held on a technicality argument that the district court lacked jurisdiction to conduct the concluded trial.

That motion was withdrawn on Tuesday in an apparent concession that Biden and his attorneys misunderstood the jurisdiction rule at the center of their argument for a new trial, ABC News reported.

The withdrawal came just one day after a filing from Special Counsel David Weiss urged the judge to reject Biden's motion because it was "meritless and is based on his apparent misunderstanding of appellate practice."

Motion for new trial withdrawn

In a filing last month, Hunter Biden's attorneys argued that his conviction for lying on a federal gun purchase form about his illicit drug addiction and illegal possession of a firearm as an admitted drug addict should be tossed out and a new trial held because the district court had no jurisdiction over the case.

The motion argued that because the Third Circuit Court of Appeals never issued a formal "mandate" to return jurisdiction to the district court after his multiple pre-trial appeals were denied, the district court lacked the authority to proceed with the trial that led to Biden's conviction.

After Special Counsel Weiss filed his opposition to that motion, Biden's attorney Abbe Lowell submitted a reply brief that said, "Referencing the procedure used by the Clerk of the Third Circuit explained in the Special Counsel’s opposition, Mr. Biden withdraws his Rule 33 motion for a new trial based on the absence of a mandate."

Lowell cited another rule, 41(b), which states that a mandate "must issue" within a week after an appeal is denied and reiterated the initial claim that "no mandate was issued by the Third Circuit."

"Instead, the Clerk of the Court’s signature block, not the Order itself, contains 'Certified Order Issued in Lieu of Mandate' language," he added. "As it appears that the Third Circuit views issuing a certified order 'in lieu' of a mandate as compliant with Rule 41’s procedure for shortening the time for issuance of a mandate, Mr. Biden withdraws his motion."

Weiss shreds Biden's "laughable tale of the mystery of the missing mandates"

On Monday, Special Counsel Weiss filed an 11-page response to Biden's motion for a new trial and wrote that it was "based on his belief that prior to his trial, the Third Circuit was required to issue a formal mandate and therefore this Court somehow lacked jurisdiction even though the Third Circuit had held that it did not have jurisdiction."

"The defendant’s motion is meritless and is based on his apparent misunderstanding of appellate practice and his failure to read the Third Circuit’s Orders, issued before trial, which clearly stated 'in Lieu of Mandate.' His motion should be denied," the prosecutor asserted and even included a screenshot of the key phrase on the certified order rejecting the appeal.

Weiss provided a brief background of Biden's failed efforts to appeal the denials of his pre-trial motions and observed, "On June 24, 2024, two weeks after the jury convicted the defendant of the crimes with which he was charged, the defense filed this motion for a new trial under Rule 33, arguing that the Court had lacked jurisdiction to hold the trial because the Third Circuit has not issued mandates in either of his two appeals."

"While the defendant repeatedly insisted before trial that his appeals divested this Court of jurisdiction, this is the first time he has spun this laughable tale of the mystery of the missing mandates," he continued. "But both dismissal orders are plainly stamped 'Issued in Lieu of Mandate' and provide no basis for this Court to reconsider its earlier rulings with respect to jurisdiction when non-appealable orders are appealed."

Either don't understand the law or didn't read the ruling

"It is unclear why the defendant believes he is waiting for the issuance of some additional, superfluous document, when the orders he received clearly indicate no further mandate will issue," Weiss later added. "His argument reveals a misunderstanding of the mechanics of the mandate process or the possibility that he failed to fully read the Third Circuit’s dismissal orders."

This episode reflects rather poorly on Hunter Biden's high-priced attorney, Abbe Lowell, not to mention Hunter himself, who according to President Joe Biden in 2020 is nothing less than "the smartest guy I know."

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