Saturday 12 August 2023

CBS reporter makes critical observation about the timing, political ramifications of David Weiss' special counsel appointment

 Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed U.S. attorney David Weiss as special counsel in the investigation of Hunter Biden.

The move, CBS News senior correspondent Catherine Herridge explained, has significant political ramifications for Republicans investigating allegations of corruption involving President Joe Biden and the first son.

"A former federal prosecutor I spoke to just before this event said to me: the appointment of a special counsel would have the effect of delaying a resolution on the Hunter Biden matter, in his opinion, and it would certainly delay any anticipated testimony from [Weiss] to Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have been seeking that testimony for several months," Herridge reported after Garland's announcement.

Republicans reacted with the same concern but will still push Weiss to cooperate with their ongoing investigations.

At a press conference, Garland said Weiss asked for special counsel powers on Tuesday, and he agreed to grant that power. 

Special counsel regulations give the attorney general sole power over special counsel appointments. But those same regulations state, "The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government." Weiss is currently an employee of the U.S. government in his capacity as the U.S. attorney over Delaware.

Meanwhile, Weiss revealed in new court filings on Friday that the Hunter Biden plea deal has collapsed, and the case will likely go to trial. 

In June, Weiss announced that Hunter Biden was charged with two misdemeanor tax crimes and a felony gun charge. Biden agreed to plead guilty to the tax charges but would receive pretrial diversion for the felony firearm charge (an unusual prosecutorial decision). But the deal broke down last month when U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika refused to approve it.

In subsequent discussions with Hunter Biden's lawyers, Weiss said the plea deal broke down completely.

"Following additional negotiations after the hearing held on July 26, 2023, the parties are at an impasse and are not in agreement on either a plea agreement or a diversion agreement," Weiss said in a court filing.

In a separate filing, Weiss asked the court to dismiss the charges against Hunter Biden so that he can prosecute Biden in another jurisdiction, either in the Central District of California or the District of Columbia. Additionally, Weiss indicated that Biden may go to trial because he left the hearing last month having pleaded not guilty.

Importantly, Weiss explained Biden cannot waive his right to challenge the court venue because he may bring new charges Biden does not know about.

"The Government, in the exercise of its prosecutorial discretion, is considering what tax charges to bring in another district and may elect to bring the same charges set forth in the instant information or different ones," Weiss wrote. "As such, a waiver now is not and could not be knowing because the Defendant is unaware of what charges he would be waiving a venue challenge to."

The development appears to corroborate information claimed by two IRS whistleblowers that Weiss was hamstrung and was not free to bring charges against Biden outside of Delaware.

In a statement, Hunter Biden's attorney, Chris Clark, said there is no wrongdoing outside of Delaware that his client could be prosecuted for.

"It is hard to see why he would have proposed such a resolution if there were other offenses he could have successfully prosecuted, and we are aware of none," Clark said.

But, according to Weiss' filing for a venue change, the alleged crimes were not committed in Delaware, which is why he is seeking to have the charges in Delaware dismissed without prejudice and the venue changed.

"After [last month's] hearing, the parties continued negotiating but reached an impasse. A trial is therefore in order," Weiss said. "And that trial cannot take place in this District because, as explained, venue does not lie here."

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