Politics

Joe Biden's son Hunter ordered to Arkansas court for contempt hearing in paternity case

Key Points
  • A judge ordered Hunter Biden to appear in an Arkansas court for a hearing on whether he should be held in contempt for failing to disclose financial information to a woman who says she bore his child.
  • Hunter Biden is the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
  • President Donald Trump faces an ongoing Senate impeachment trial related to his calling on Ukraine last summer to investigate the Bidens as he withheld military aid to that country.
World Food Program USA Board Chairman Hunter Biden speaks at the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Paul Morigi | Getty Images

A judge ordered former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter to appear next week in an Arkansas court for a hearing on whether he should be held in contempt for failing to disclose financial information to a woman who says she bore his child.

"Our expectation is that he's going to appear," Clint Lancaster, an attorney for the Arkansas woman, Lunden Alexis Roberts, told CNBC on Wednesday.

But Lancaster, who has accused Hunter Biden in legal filings of having "no respect" for the court, noted that he had not seen him at court proceedings for months.

The order comes as the Senate conducts an impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in connection with Trump asking Ukraine's new president to announce investigations of Joe Biden and Hunter Biden while withholding almost $400 million congressionally appropriated military aid to that country. Joe Biden is the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Republicans have suggested that they might call Hunter Biden, a lawyer who had served on the board of a Ukraine gas company, as a witness in the impeachment trial. Trump earlier this month said, "I'd like to hear from Hunter Biden and Joe Biden."

Roberts' lawyers have said in Arkansas court filings that Hunter Biden failed to meet a court-ordered deadline of last Thursday to turn over documents dating back five years as part of her request for child-support payments from him for her 16-month-old child.

Those documents include "a list of all sources of income," copies of tax returns, and a list of companies in which he has an ownership interest, as well as the addresses where he lives and his telephone number, according to court records.

Lancaster told CNBC that those documents are needed to correctly calculate how much Biden should pay Roberts in support.

Biden, 49, is no longer contesting Roberts' claim of paternity after originally saying he never had sex with the 28-year-old woman.

"The defendant's conduct is willful and contemptuous," Lancaster wrote in a motion Monday asking a judge to hold Biden in contempt of court.

"The defendant continues to act as though he has no respect for this Court, its orders, the legal process in this state, or the needs of his child for support," Lancaster wrote. "This court should sanction the defendant as it deems appropriate and just."

Judge Holly Meyer, in an order made public Tuesday, said Biden must appear Jan. 29 in Independence County Circuit Court and "show cause, if any exists, as to why he should not be held in contempt for any of the alleged violations of this Court's orders."

Attorneys for Biden did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

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Roberts' lawyers last month, as part of their child support claim, asked in court filings that Biden admit he could have continued serving on the Ukraine gas company Burisma's board. Biden reportedly earned about $50,000 per month from that position, which he held from April 2014 through April 2019.

Trump, in defending his call for a probe of the Bidens by Ukraine, has suggested that Joe Biden, while serving as vice president in the Obama administration, improperly pressured Ukraine to oust a prosecutor who at the time was supposedly investigating that company. Trump has implied that Joe Biden took such an action to protect his son from the prosecutor's purported inquiry.

The Bidens have denied any wrongdoing.

Joe Biden has noted that his call for Ukraine to dismiss the prosecutor was in line with the policy at the time of other Western countries who believed that getting rid of the prosecutor would bolster Ukraine's efforts to reduce corruption in that country.

Hunter Biden previously was married for 24 years to Kathleen Biden, with whom he has three children.

After separating from his wife, Biden for several years dated Hallie Biden, the widow of his elder brother Beau, a former Delaware attorney general who died of brain cancer in 2015.

After splitting with Hallie Biden in early 2019, he married South African filmmaker Melissa Cohen. He had met Cohen, 34, just six days before they wed.

Roberts sued Hunter in May, less than a month after his latest marriage, claiming that she had his child in August 2018 — while Hunter was still seeing Hallie Biden.