Devon Archer, the former friend and business partner of Hunter Biden, is set to testify for a closed door meeting before the House Oversight Committee on Monday. This comes after Archer had already canceled many other opportunities.
Now that he appears ready to finally do so, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter on Saturday asking for a date on when Archer is supposed to start his prison sentence for defrauding Native American tribes.
A report from POLITICO looked to emphasize that the letter won’t impact such testimony, but it’s still a pretty big coincidence:
On Saturday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York wrote to trial judge Ronnie Abrams and asked her to schedule a date for Archer to report to prison, after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals finalized an order days earlier upholding his one-year sentence.
The court isn’t expected to make a decision before Archer will meet behind closed doors with the House Oversight Committee, meaning that even if the court ultimately sides with the request Archer wouldn’t have to report to prison before the meeting. And his attorney said in a statement that he will move forward with his planned appearance Monday.
A spokesperson for the office of United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York declined to comment on the filing or the timing of the letter. But according to the one-page letter, filed by assistant U.S. attorney Negar Tekeei, prosecutors had asked Archer’s attorney to recommend a reporting date in light of the Second Circuit ruling but were rebuffed.
Archer’s counsel, according to the DOJ letter, said it was “premature” to set a sentencing date because Archer was considering further appeals and intended to raise an “error” in the sentencing process. Archer’s lawyer plans to file a response to the U.S. attorney’s demands by Wednesday.
Matthew Schwartz, Archer’s attorney, also rejected the notion that there’s any connection between Archer’s tiff with the Justice Department and his potentially imminent jail time.
“We are aware of speculation that the Department of Justice’s weekend request to have Mr. Archer report to prison is an attempt by the Biden administration to intimidate him in advance of his meeting with the House Oversight Committee,” Schwartz said in a statement. “To be clear, Mr. Archer does not agree with that speculation. In any case, Mr. Archer will do what he has planned to do all along, which is to show up on Monday and to honestly answer the questions that are put to him by the Congressional investigators.
The New York Post’s Miranda Devine tweeted out an update on early Monday morning, in the form of a letter from the Southern District of New York (SDNY) making clear that they don’t expect Archer to surrender before his Monday testimony before the House Oversight Committee. Writing to U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams noted that “[t]o be clear, the Government does not request (and has never requested) that the defendant surrender before his Congressional testimony.” The letter also added that the process involved “can take several weeks or months after the Court sets a surrender date.”
“Nonetheless, for the avoidance of all doubt, the Government requests that any surrender date, should the Court order one, be scheduled to occur after the defendant’s Congressional testimony is completed,” the letter also read, with added emphasis.