WASHINGTON — Los Angeles US Attorney Martin Estrada told lawmakers that he refused to “partner” with federal prosecutors from Delaware last year to charge first son Hunter Biden with tax fraud — saying his office was simply too “resource-strapped” to assign anyone to the case.
Estrada, an appointee of President Biden, confirmed he balked at charging his boss’s son with ducking taxes linked to foreign income in Tuesday testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, according to a transcript reviewed by The Post — partially confirming the claims of IRS whistleblowers.
DC US Attorney Matthew Graves, another Biden appointee, also recently confirmed to the panel that he declined Delaware US attorney David Weiss’ request to team up on charges, with Graves saying it would have been too difficult for his office to “get up to speed on everything.”
Estrada told the Judiciary Committee, which is working on an impeachment inquiry into the president, that he believes some Weiss subordinates were granted special assistant US attorney status in Los Angeles by his predecessor, meaning that they might have been able to prosecute Hunter Biden without his help.
However, Estrada couldn’t say how many had been so deputized — only recalling “more than one” — or what role they may have performed.
According to Estrada, Weiss called him on Oct. 19, 2022, to request that the LA prosecutor work directly with the Delaware team.
“My goal was to be as polite and helpful to Mr. Weiss as possible,” Estrada recollected of the phone call.
“I was down 40 AUSAs at the time, so we were very resource-strapped. We were trying to hire as much as possible and had very limited resources. And every attorney you assign to a case means you can’t do another case,” Estrada said.
“And it seemed — and he didn’t push back on — when I told him the situation, that we wouldn’t be cocounseling, but he did express appreciation when I offered administrative support.”
Weiss reportedly considered not charging Hunter Biden, now 53, at all after Graves and Estrada turned down his requests, then changed his mind when IRS supervisory agent Gary Shapley and case agent Joseph Ziegler came forward this year to allege irregularities in the investigation.
Shapley and Ziegler said that Weiss was not the ultimate decision-maker in the case — contrary to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s under-oath claims to Congress — and claimed that they had also been barred from fully accessing evidence or probing President Biden’s apparent links to his son’s foreign revenue, even when communications directly impacted him.
Weiss approved a probation-only plea deal for Hunter Biden for tax and gun charges this past June. The deal dramatically collapsed at a July 26 court hearing and Weiss was granted special counsel powers by Garland Aug. 11.
Weiss last month charged Hunter Biden in Delaware with three felonies related to illegal gun possession, but he has not yet refiled tax charges, which could also include related counts such as money laundering and alleged violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The financial crimes would be charged in Los Angeles or DC because that’s where Hunter Biden lived and filed taxes when he allegedly bilked Uncle Sam of $2.2 million between 2014 and 2019.
Republican-led House committees are conducting an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden’s alleged role in his son and brother’s foreign ventures. As vice president and before winning the presidency, Biden regularly interacted with his relatives’ benefactors — including those from China, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine — in what critics call corrupt influence-peddling.
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