Hunter Biden’s Lawyers Say Feds Mistook ‘Lines of Sawdust’ for Cocaine

The photo used as purported evidence of the younger Biden’s drug usage was actually taken by a master carpenter who’d overcome his own habit, according to his attorneys.Published Feb. 20, 2024 8:37PM EST Getty Images/Department of JusticeAttorneys for Hunter Biden accused Special Counsel Davis Weiss’ office of mistaking lines of sawdust for cocaine in court documents alleging drug

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The photo used as purported evidence of the younger Biden’s drug usage was actually taken by a master carpenter who’d overcome his own habit, according to his attorneys.

AJ McDougall

Hunter Biden, sawdust

Getty Images/Department of Justice

Attorneys for Hunter Biden accused Special Counsel Davis Weiss’ office of mistaking lines of sawdust for cocaine in court documents alleging drug use by the first son—a blunder they argued was unbecoming of the office.

“Mistaking sawdust for cocaine sounds more like a storyline from one of the 1980’s Police Academy comedies than what should be expected in a high-profile prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice,” Biden’s lawyers snarked in a new filing.

While digging through his electronics, investigators executing a search warrant found photos and videos that Biden had taken of “apparent cocaine, crack cocaine, and drug paraphernalia,” as they described it in an exhibit filed last week as evidence that he had been lying about his drug usage when he bought a gun in Delaware in 2018.

One of the images included in the filing showed three lines of a yellow-tinged, powdery substance on a plank.

“The prosecution is flat out wrong—both that Mr. Biden ‘took’ this photograph and in claiming that it depicts ‘cocaine.’” Biden’s attorneys wrote on Tuesday. “Multiple sources have pointed out, and a review of discovery confirms, this is actually a photo of sawdust from an expert carpenter and it was sent to Mr. Biden, not vice versa.”

The filing goes on to explain that the carpenter—in recovery from cocaine addiction himself—set up the gag shot and sent it to Biden’s then-psychiatrist, Dr. Keith Ablow. The doctor sent it on to Biden, telling him he’d told the carpenter he’d have to choose between his art and his drug.

“He sent me the photo and a message that said, ‘Made my choice,’” Ablow wrote. “Hope you do, too.”

The message was meant to inspire Biden, his lawyers wrote, letting him know that he, “too, could overcome any addiction.”

Biden’s attorneys went on to excoriate the Justice Department’s prosecutors for jumping to conclusions, arguing that it had damaged the president’s son’s standing. “The prosecution was reckless in making such a hyperbolic and sensational claim in a public filing, which it surely realized would prejudice Mr. Biden in the public eye,” they said.

The Biden team’s filing did not address two other images included in the Justice Department’s exhibit, one showing small tools in a Hermès box and another a scale weighing grainy white rocks.

Weiss’ office did not immediately return an after-hours request for comment on Tuesday.

Biden was indicted last September on three federal charges related to the 2018 gun purchase. The indictment was handed down after a plea agreement that would have resolved any charges related to the case—as well as further tax-related charges in California—fell apart at the last second. He faces up to 25 years behind bars on the gun charges alone. (In December, he was indicted for allegedly trying to avoid paying $1.4 million in taxes between 2016 and 2019.)

He has pleaded not guilty to both indictments and, in December, asked a federal judge to dismiss the gun charges, arguing the case against him is politically motivated. Weiss has denied any right-wing bias in prosecuting Biden. “Stripped of its bluster, the defendant’s theory of vindictiveness is simply not credible,” he wrote last month.

Biden’s Tuesday filing, which seeks to ensure prosecutors have fulfilled their discovery obligations, also references Alexander Smirnov, arguing that his recent indictment proves the case is tainted. A former FBI informant, Smirnov was charged last week with fabricating claims that Biden and his father took bribes from a Ukrainian company.

“It now seems clear that the Smirnov allegations infected this case” as prosecutors resuscitated a “baseless investigation” based on Smirnov’s “ridiculous claims” as they chased Biden, the lawyers wrote.

“The Special Counsel charged Mr. Smirnov with lying and obstruction, but the more interesting part of this story is not that Mr. Smirnov lied,” they added. “It is more remarkable that beginning in July 2023, the Special Counsel’s team would follow Mr. Smirnov down his rabbit hole of lies as long as it did.”

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