A yearslong investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes may be entering a new phase as prosecutors for special counsel David Weiss gather evidence in California.
A grand jury in Los Angeles has begun issuing subpoenas to people connected to Hunter Biden’s business dealings, including James Biden, the brother of President Joe Biden, CNN reported Thursday.
The news comes shortly after the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, Martin Estrada, told Congress in a closed-door interview that Weiss had called him in September for reasons that Estrada declined to share with lawmakers, according to a transcript of the interview reviewed by the Washington Examiner.
IRS whistleblowers disclosed in the spring that investigators had long considered bringing charges against Hunter Biden of tax crimes committed in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, but the whistleblowers claimed Weiss faced roadblocks in bringing those charges because they occurred in California. Prior to his appointment as special counsel in August, Weiss did not have the authority to indict Hunter Biden outside his jurisdiction in Delaware.
Estrada, a Biden appointee, did not agree to partner with Weiss on the case in California when Weiss asked him to do so last year.
Months earlier, Weiss had asked the Justice Department for the power to charge Hunter Biden outside Delaware, but he did not receive it.
Weiss told the House Judiciary Committee last week that he believed he would have had the authority if he’d made the final decision to proceed with an indictment; the whistleblowers have said no indictment ever came because Weiss lacked the authority.
The recent grand jury activity in California is not the first time Weiss’s team has conducted investigative activity in the Los Angeles area, where Hunter Biden has lived for several years.
In April 2021, for example, IRS investigators used a conference room in the California U.S. attorney’s office to interview the accountant who helped Hunter Biden prepare his taxes for some of the years in question, documents released by the House Ways and Means Committee show.
Weiss’s decision to continue the tax investigation after the collapse of a plea deal this summer comes as Hunter Biden’s defense team mounts an aggressive effort to paint him as beholden to political pressure.
Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s lawyer, asked a court this week to subpoena former President Donald Trump and other former Justice Department officials for documents that could help Lowell build a defense strategy around the idea that the Trump DOJ set in motion a biased investigation of Hunter Biden for the purposes of taking out his father.
Lowell has also publicly claimed that Weiss only scrapped the plea deal and brought separate gun charges against his client in Delaware because the IRS whistleblower testimony led to Republican calls for Hunter Biden to receive harsher treatment.