Federal Prosecutor Denies Requesting Special Counsel Status in Hunter Biden Case in Letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
July 10, 2023Hunter Bidenshare
Federal Prosecutor Denies Requesting Special Counsel Status in Hunter Biden Case in Letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham
Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, looks on during a state dinner at the White House on June 22, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss has issued a new letter denying claims that he was denied special counsel status in his investigation of President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

In a letter (pdf) to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Monday, Mr. Weiss said he never requested special counsel status to bring charges against Mr. Biden outside of Delaware.

“I wish to make one point clear: in this case, I have not requested Special Counsel designation pursuant to 28 CFR § 600 et seq,” Mr. Weiss wrote, citing the special counsel statute. “Rather, I had discussions with Departmental officials regarding potential appointment under 28 U.S.C. § 515, which would have allowed me to file charges in a district outside my own without the partnership of the local U.S. Attorney.”

The statute, 28 U.S.C. § 515, grants the DOJ the ability to allow special attorneys to bring charges in jurisdictions even if those special attorneys are not residents of the jurisdiction where the charges are brought. Mr Weiss said, “I was assured that I would be granted this authority if it proved necessary.”

Mr. Weiss’s letter to the Republican senator conflicts with claims by IRS special agent Gary Shapley, a whistleblower within the agency.

In May, Mr. Shapley testified (pdf) to the House Ways and Means Committee that Mr. Weiss had asked the U.S. Department of Justice to confer him with special counsel status, but that the DOJ denied his request. Empower Oversight, a group representing Mr. Shapley, issued a statement on June 24, claiming Mr. Weiss described requesting special counsel status during an Oct. 7, 2022, meeting with members of the investigative team. Mr. Shapley’s representatives have said five other witnesses could back his claims about the Oct. 7 meeting, including Baltimore FBI Special Agent in Charge Tom Sobocinski, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ryeshia Holley, and IRS Special Agent in Charge Darrell Waldon.

Mr. Waldon did appear to corroborate Mr. Shapley’s characterization of the Oct. 7 meeting in an email four days later, which Mr. Shapley’s legal team has shared with Congress. In an Oct. 11 email, Mr. Shapley sent his IRS colleague a summary of the Oct. 7 meeting, including a point that Mr. Weiss had requested to file a charge in Washington D.C. and requested special counsel status but was denied on both counts. In reply, Mr. Waldon wrote, “You covered it all” without disputing any of the points Mr. Shapley memorialized in his notes.

“U.S. Attorney David Weiss’s story continues to change. As a practical matter, it makes no difference whether Weiss requested special counsel or special attorney authority,” Empower Oversight said in an emailed statement to NTD News on Monday. “Under no circumstances should ‘the process’ have included the political appointees of the subject’s father, because Congress and the public had been assured it would not—but it did.”

Ongoing Investigation

Last month, the Delaware U.S. attorney announced his office had reached a plea agreement, with Mr. Biden offering to admit to two misdemeanor charges for willful failure to file his tax returns for two separate years. The president’s son also agreed to enter a pretrial diversion program for a federal gun charge, and the program could allow him to get the charge dismissed if he completes the diversion program.

In a press statement announcing the plea deal, Mr. Weiss said his investigation in the case of the president’s son “is ongoing” but did not specify what additional charges may be pending and if the case is looking into people connected with the younger Biden.

In his original June 28 letter (pdf) to the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s office, Mr. Graham asked specifically about an FBI form FD-1023 that allegedly described communications involving the elder Biden, his son, and the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. Mr. Graham asked Mr. Weiss if his office had been made aware of this FD-1023, a form used by the FBI to record allegations raised by their human sources.

Mr. Weiss declined to answer questions about the FD-1023 form.

“Your questions about allegations contained in an FBI FD-1023 Form relate to an ongoing investigation,” the federal prosecutor wrote. “As such, I cannot comment on them at this time.”

This article has been updated with an additional comment offered to NTD News by Empower Oversight.

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