Now You See It, Now You Don't: Hunter Biden Legal Team Files Motion for New Trial Then Abruptly Rescinds

AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib

File this under "Weird Things Afoot in the Courts." After First Son Hunter Biden was found guilty by a Delaware jury on federal gun charges last Tuesday, there was talk of an appeal, and post-trial motions by his legal team are expected. 

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Thus, their filing of a motion for new trial on Monday morning was unremarkable...except for the fact that they promptly turned around and requested that it be undocketed.

The first son’s lawyers in papers filed in Delaware federal court Monday morning said he should be granted a new trial on the grounds the judge didn’t have jurisdiction because Hunter’s two appeals were still pending.

“The Third Circuit [appeals court], however, did not then and has not yet issued its mandate as to the orders dismissing either appeal,” Hunter’s lawyer Abbe Lowell wrote in the filing. “Thus, when this Court empaneled the jury on June 3, 2024 and proceeded to trial, it was without jurisdiction to do so.”

However, shortly after that filing, the pleading was removed, and a correction note was added to the court's docket, which reads simply: 

CORRECTING ENTRY: The Motion for a New Trial (formerly DI 233) has been deleted at the request of counsel.

Just to give a procedural overview: Hunter Biden filed multiple motions to dismiss before trial judge Maryellen Noreika in the gun case. On April 12, 2024, Noreika denied several of those motions, and Biden filed an interlocutory (while the case is still pending/ongoing) appeal to the Third Circuit. The Third Circuit then dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction on May 9. (Essentially, the court said, "You can't appeal these yet.") Biden filed a motion for rehearing and the court also denied that motion. 

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There was a fourth motion to dismiss on constitutional (Second Amendment) grounds which Noreika denied on May 9. Biden appealed that one to the Third Circuit as well, and on May 28, the appellate court again said, "Not yet."

Reading between the lines on this, my sense is that Biden's team thought they had a solid point regarding Noreika's jurisdiction on a technicality, then either thought better of it (or were advised to think better of it) or determined they needed to include all potential grounds for a new trial in the motion, so rescinded the motion to retool it. 

We'll know more when/if further pleadings get filed in the matter. For now, chalk it up to lawyers and courts sometimes do seemingly inexplicable things. 

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