The judge assigned to handle the paternity battle surrounding Hunter Biden, son of Democratic presidential contender and former Vice President Joe Biden, has recused himself from the case, court papers show.
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Don McSpadden, the judge overseeing the matter in Circuit Court of Independence County, Arkansas, announced in a single-page document submitted Tuesday he’d be taking himself off the case. He did not provide a reason for the recusal.
McSpadden had been tasked with handling the bitter paternity battle between Biden, 49, who has been mired in controversy for his involvement with Ukraine-based Burisma Holdings, and Lunden Roberts, who reportedly met the presidential hopeful’s son at a Washington, D.C., strip club where she worked.
"One of the clearest indicators of a judge's integrity is when he or she recuses from a case," said Clinton Lancaster, Roberts' attorney, in an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette report. "Our client sincerely thanks Judge McSpadden for his time and attention to what has become a difficult and convoluted child support matter."
A paternity test ordered at the end of September determined Biden was the father of Roberts' child, who has been identified in court papers only as “Baby Doe.”
Meanwhile, Biden and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, recently announced they are expecting their first child together, the Daily Mail reported.
The case has been covered extensively by the media as Roberts and several others have called for Biden, whose real name is Robert Hunter Biden, to reveal his finances, including all forms of his income. In court papers filed Dec. 18, Roberts, through attorneys, argued that Biden had failed to answer multiple questions regarding his finances.
“[Biden] has provided no support for this child for over a year,” the Dec. 18 court papers state. “The Court should not let the defendant continue to avoid his natural and legal duty to support his child by failing to provide basic information about his income, finances, and lifestyle.”
Biden was reportedly named a paid board member of Burisma in April 2014. The company's founder was a political ally of Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine's Russia-friendly president, who was driven out in February 2014. Yanukovych's ouster prompted the Obama administration to move quickly to deepen ties with Ukraine's new government. Joe Biden, the vice president at the time, played a leading role, traveling to Ukraine and speaking frequently with its new Western-friendly president.
President Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which he allegedly pressure Zelensky to work with former U.S. attorney general and lawyer Rudy Giuliani to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden, lies at the center of the impeachment push.
The House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump in December, along party lines.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Jerusalem-based investor Joel Caplan submitted paperwork requesting to be named an “intervener” in the case, citing Biden’s possible involvement in a “biblically-sized multi-billion dollar stock scheme” – dubbed “The China Hustle” – through which Caplan says he was defrauded.
Caplan cites a September report in the National Review in claiming in the court filings Biden had allegedly received $1.5 billion “from high-level Chinese government officials and/or wealthy Chinese National investors.”
“Mr. Caplan has reason to believe and evidence that there is a strong nexus and a correlation between the egress of money via ‘The China Hustle’ and the laundering of that money through matters related to this case and there is no reason not to believe this given the plethora of evidence…,” court papers state. “Furthermore, the discovery that will take place in this case will provided missing pieces of exactly how much money the Chinese paid Robert Hunter Biden and what he used that money for…”
Just days earlier, controversial private investigator Dominic Casey from Florida-based D&A Investigations, Inc. filed his own motion to intervene, in which he accuses Biden of being involved in a counterfeiting scheme that accumulated more than $156 million, according to court papers submitted on Dec. 23 and Dec. 27.
It does not appear a judge has yet responded to either potential intervener's request to get involved.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette cited Biden’s lawyer, Brent Langdon, in reporting that his client has not received monthly income since May and is out of a job.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.