Hunter Biden asked the judge presiding over his criminal gun charge case to subpoena former President Donald Trump and top officials in his Justice Department, arguing that the investigation into him was the direct result of “incessant, improper, and partisan pressure” from Trump and his allies.
The court filing Wednesday asks Judge U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika, a Trump nominee, to issue subpoenas to Trump, former Attorney General Bill Barr, former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, and former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.
“Mr. Biden seeks specific information from three former DOJ officials and the former President that goes to the heart of his defense that this is, possibly, a vindictive or selective prosecution arising from an unrelenting pressure campaign beginning in the last administration, in violation of Mr. Biden’s Fifth Amendment rights under the Constitution,” the filing said.
Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, was indicted in September on three counts tied to possession of a gun while using narcotics. Two of the counts accuse him of having completed a form indicating he was not using illegal drugs when he bought a Colt Cobra revolver in Oct. 2018, and the third alleges he possessed a firearm while using a narcotic. Two of the counts carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, while the third has a maximum of five years.
Hunter Biden’s lawyers have maintained the charges are unfair because prosecutors agreed to a plea deal earlier this year that would have had a gun charge using the same facts dropped if he stayed out of trouble for a period of two years. Prosecutors had also agreed to recommend a sentence of probation in return for a guilty plea on misdemeanor tax charges. The deal was scuttled after Noreika raised questions about some of the provisions in the agreements.
The filing maintains the decision to bring harsher charges was political, as was the underlying investigation itself.
In the lead up to the 2020 election, IRS case files show certain investigative decisions were made ‘as a result of guidance provided’ by, among others, ‘the Deputy Attorney General’s office,’” the filing said.
It also points to a passage from Barr’s recent book where he said Trump called him in October 2020 asking about the status of the probe into Joe Biden’s son. Barr wrote that he responded, “Dammit, Mr. President, I am not going to talk to you about Hunter Biden. Period!”
“These confirmations of communications give more than a mere appearance that President Trump improperly and unrelentingly pressured DOJ to pursue an investigation and prosecution of Mr. Biden to advance President Trump’s partisan ambitions,” said the filing by Hunter Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell.
It also notes the pressure from House Republicans on special counsel David Weiss, who the GOP argued was taking it easy on Hunter Biden by offering him a plea deal to end the yearslong tax and gun charges probe.
Lowell said that pressure “culminated in Special Counsel Weiss’s then changing course and bringing this Indictment on September 14 against Mr. Biden, charging three felony counts for the same gun and same facts that just a few months prior Mr. Weiss had agreed to divert under a pre-trial diversion agreement.”
The proposed subpoenas would call for the four to turn over all “documents and records (personal or official platforms) reflecting communications” during the Trump administration “relating to or discussing any formal or informal investigation or prosecution of Hunter Biden, including, but not limited to, any decision, referral, or request to investigate or not investigate or charge or not charge Hunter Biden.”
Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to the gun charges in October. Weiss has indicated in court filings that he plans on bringing tax charges against him as well.
NBC News has reached out to the special counsel’s office and Trump’s campaign for comment.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com