New evidence shows that E. Martin Estrada, who was named by President Joe Biden as U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, declined to work with David Weiss, who is the U.S. Attorney for Delaware, to bring charges against Hunter Biden in his district.
Estrada’s statement shows that that soon after he was sworn in, he met with his team of U.S. attorneys to talk about Weiss’s request to work together on the Hunter Biden case. Estrada finally talked to Weiss on the phone and told him that he was not going to be a co-counsel on the charges.
“I first learned about — that there was a Hunter Biden investigation touching on our district shortly after taking the seat. So it would have been late September 2022 or early October 2022,” Estrada testified. He went on to discuss his conversations with the attorneys in his office surrounding Weiss’ request to partner.
“I learned from attorneys in my office, career attorneys in my office, that there was a request from the District of Delaware to partner or cocounsel [sic] on certain charges that they were investigating; that our career attorneys had communicated that they were recommending against partnering or cocounseling in the charges being contemplated; and that the District of Delaware, through Mr.Weiss, wanted to speak to me about that,” Estrada said.
Estrada’s first assistant U.S. attorney (FAUSA) told him about Weiss’s request first, but Estrada wouldn’t say who that person was in his evidence.
“My first assistant, my then First Assistant United States Attorney brought — told me that there had been this request from the District of Delaware to cocounsel or partner on the case; that the chief of my Major Frauds Section, who would be the person who makes these decisions, was recommending against doing so; and that that had been communicated to the District of Delaware,” Estrada testified.
He didn’t know if the choice not to partner had been made before or after he started his job in late September 2022. Estrada’s evidence shows that the lawyer above his Major Frauds section boss, who was the criminal chief of his division, agreed with the advice not to work with Weiss.
Estrada made it clear that “cocounsel” on the case meant to work together on it. He said that as a U.S. attorney or assistant U.S. attorney, he had never worked with a co-counsel before.
The U.S. Attorney also said that the acting U.S. attorney for his district, who was his boss, gave the go-ahead for Delaware assistant U.S. attorneys to become special lawyers, which means they can practice law in his district. His evidence shows that Estrada did not know the specifics of what happened with the hiring of the “special attorney.”
Estrada met with his Major Frauds chief and criminal chief twice to talk about how to work together with Weiss’ office to charge Hunter Biden. He said that before his first meeting with his bosses in October 2022, he read three notes that helped him decide not to work with them on the case.
“Based on the recommendation of my major frauds chief and my then Criminal Division chief who, combined, had over 40 years’ experience as prosecutors, I agreed that we would not partner or cocounsel in the prosecution; but I did tell Mr.Weiss that we’d provide office space and administrative support for his attorneys in their prosecution,” Estrada said.
“Ultimately, it was my — my conclusion. They had already made recommendations. And having reviewed the materials and doing analysis and then speaking with them about materials and analysis, I agreed with their recommendations,” he added.
After his team’s first meeting on October 19, 2022, Estrada called Weiss. According to the evidence record, Weiss asked to talk on the phone, and Estrada told him what he thought about the Hunter Biden case.
“I can’t get into the deliberative process. But I discussed our analysis of facts and law to explain to him why we would not be cocounseling on the case, but then I told him that we were happy to provide office space, administrative support for his attorneys. He thanked me for that and the call ended,” Estrada said.
A short time after his call with Weiss, Estrada met with his top leaders again and told them about his five-minute conversation with Weiss.
The evidence says that Estrada and Weiss talked on the phone again on September 19, 2023, but it wasn’t about working together as lawyers on the Hunter Biden case. Estrada didn’t talk about the specifics of the call because the investigation into Hunter Biden is still going on.
Estrada said that he had never met the U.S. attorneys from Delaware who were said to have been given special permission to pursue cases in his district. It is not clear if those lawyers ever went to Estrada’s district.
The claim that Weiss wasn’t able to file tax charges in California and Washington, D.C., is one of the most shocking ones from IRS agents who swore as part of a GOP investigation that the case had been “slow-walked” and treated badly by the Justice Department.
Martin Estrada, the U.S. Attorney for Los Angeles, said that he told the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, behind closed doors, that he knew Weiss had the power to bring charges and offered to help him with the paperwork. In a statement, he said, “I did not and could not ‘block’ Mr. Weiss because he did not need my permission to bring charges in my district.”
This is similar to what U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves said last week. He said that while he didn’t want to work with Weiss, he never tried to stop him and instead offered to help with logistics.
Weiss is set to appear before the Judiciary Committee at the beginning of November.