(CNSNews.com) – A Colorado law firm’s two-year attempt to have the Justice Department provide documents relating to Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China, Russia, and Ukraine comes before a judge again next week, after the plaintiff argued that there was “significant public interest” in the records being released.
Attorney Kevin Evans and Evans Law PLLC sued the DOJ last March, 16 months after first filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents dealing with the business activities of both President Biden’s son, Hunter, and the president’s brother, James Biden.
Evans wrote in documents before the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado that he initiated the action after 15 separate communications with the DOJ over more than a year provided “no real assurance from DOJ as to when it would provide a substantive response.”
In the FOIA request, served on November 19, 2020, Evans asked for material relating to Hunter and James Biden “pertaining to any relationship, communication, gift(s), and/or remuneration in any form with, to or from any individual or entity (government agency or otherwise) from the countries of China, Russia, and/or Ukraine.”
What he received from the DOJ, the following March, were copies of letters between lawmakers (including Republican Sens. Rand Paul, Chuck Grassley, and Ron Johnson) and the Attorney General relating to Hunter Biden’s business deals.
Apart from that correspondence, Evans said the DOJ also provided a copy of a report by the majority staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees (the Johnson-Grassley report, released in Sept. 2020) on Hunter Biden’s business dealings, including his role on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. (Despite having no prior experience in the gas industry or in Ukraine, Hunter Biden joined Burisma’s board in 2014. According to the Senate GOP staff report he was paid $50,000 a month.)
For months Evans sought more information in line with his FOIA request. He advised DOJ in a letter that he would sue, “[a]bsent a prompt, significant, and substantive response (as opposed to what I have received to date).”
Evans then filed suit last March, seeking a court order for the DOJ to “promptly comply with the request and produce all requested documents.”
During a March 2022 status conference in the case, counsel for the DOJ said it had found 400 pages of documents “potentially responsive” to the FOIA request, that were undergoing review.
But four months after acknowledging the existence of the 400 pages, the DOJ in a letter to the plaintiffs said it “refuse[s] to confirm or deny the existence of such records,” according to court documents.
In defending its “neither confirm nor deny” stance, the DOJ in documents before the court cited two exemptions in the FOIA, both relating to “an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
The next hearing in the case – another status conference in the courthouse in Denver, Colo. – has been set down for next Monday.
Evans lodged the original FOIA request after the New York Post published revelations about Hunter Biden’s business dealings, based on emails and messages found on a laptop which he had left at a computer repair shop in Delaware in 2019.
The Post reporting drew attention to alleged attempts by Hunter Biden to benefit in his business interests in Ukraine and China from the position of his father, the then-vice president.
In documents before the court in Colorado, Evans laid out why he believed release of the DOJ documents was indeed a matter of “significant public interest.”
“Any suggestion that Plaintiffs have failed to identify a significant public interest is, with all due respect, an imperious position,” Evans said in a status report last September.
“To the extent there was any confusion here by DOJ, how about public interest in national security concerns and influence peddling? How about concerns as to whether such favors and gifts were provided in exchange for an illicit quid pro quo?”
“How about whether specified individuals are receiving favorable treatment vis-à-vis others in a similar position?” Evans continued. “It can hardly be suggested that these are not matters of ‘significant public interest.’”
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