The federal judge’s concerns about the Hunter Biden plea deal closely aligned with that of an amicus brief filed a day earlier by the Oversight Project, the watchdog arm of The Heritage Foundation.
“Mission accomplished,” Mike Howell, director of the Oversight Project and an investigative columnist for The Daily Signal, said Wednesday in Wilmington, Del., after the plea agreement between federal prosecutors and the president’s son collapsed in court.
The Heritage Foundation was the first organization to file an amicus brief in the Hunter Biden case. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of Heritage.)
“We are leaving with a big fat piece of justice in our pocket, because a federal judge pumped the brakes on the Hunter Biden plea deal, did exactly as we asked in the amicus brief,” Howell added.
Howell was among those at the federal courthouse for the hearing, in which Hunter Biden had initially agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor gun charges and one charge of lying on a gun purchase form. However, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika raised concerns about the agreement before it fell apart.
The 860-page Heritage brief notes that since federal prosecutors reached a deal with Hunter Biden on June 20, many new facts had come to light during congressional investigations that “likely will not be presented to the court by either the government or the defendant.”
The brief presented facts about “conflicts between the public statements and testimony of Attorney General Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware David C. Weiss, and the IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and [Joseph Ziegler].”
“Information related to this investigation has been changing on a daily basis,” the brief says. “Amici wanted the Court to have the most up-to-date information, and given the posture of the [Freedom of Information Act] litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and congressional hearing landscape, it was not practicable to submit the proposed Brief any earlier.”
Noreika was at points frustrated during the Wednesday hearing, The New York Times reported, and said she was being asked to “rubber-stamp” a deal she has serious “concerns about.”
Howell recorded a video in front of the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station in Wilmington, named for the president who formerly represented the state in the U.S. Senate, and summarized the “800 pages of a beautiful brief.”
“Notably, the judge threw out a blanket immunity provision in there, that Hunter Biden would be off the hook for any criminal behavior in this huge time period, and then plead out some ‘nothing’ misdemeanors and felony diversion,” Howell said. “That’s not going to happen anymore. They’ve got to go back and rewrite the whole thing, among tons of other issues, which we pointed out. This is a win. For one day, we pumped the brakes on a weaponized Department of Justice.”
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