What We Don’t Know About Why The Hunter Biden Plea Deal Blew Up
I am not voting for Hunter Biden under these circumstances.
I love Ken's solution to "we don't know anything, but we have to comment". 1) Point out that there is pressure to say something definitive when we don't know anything. 2) Berate those that fall for that. 3) say what do know, provide a set of plausible scenarios that could fit the facts, but point out we are missing a crucial piece of information.
The result 1) Ken get's the click bait click, and 2) people who read the article actually come out knowing more than the did before they clicked, and maybe able to exercise patience wating for a more definitive conclusion.
... oh and when the plea agreement becomes available Ken just needs to point to 'this supports conclusion 2" rather than him picking some conclusion and back peddling on it when more information comes out.
So while people are flying off the handle and screaming that judge is a Republican shill trying to sabotage Hunter Biden, it appears that she may be trying to do right by him.
I’m glad I saw it here before i heard any bullshit about it anywhere else.
Some people have been sending me, or commenting with, alternate takes on what happened with the Hunter Biden plea deal.
I’m not certain I am right on my take, which I view as only the most likely scenario. That’s in part because I believe my experience leads me to wield Occam’s Razor differently — I don’t think some of the scenarios proposed can be called the “simplest,” based on my experience with the system. But I could be wrong.
In judging other people’s takes, I respectfully invite you to consider (1) does the author have training and experience with the procedures at issue, (2) does the author insist that their interpretation is the only plausible one, (3) is the tone hysterical, and (4) does the conclusion align 100% with the priors of the author.
The opening paragraph of this should be used as a disclaimer on any breaking news story, especially any politically charged one.
And the closing paragraph succinctly summarizes most breaking news items until more information comes out about them.
It is hard for me to believe that a federal prosecutor as competent as Leo Wise is purported to be would negligently leave any room for ambiguity regarding the terms of the deal. Same goes for Weiss. Ambiguous plea agreements are typically construed against the government. And there is no legitimate reason for the government's failure to have publicly filed the agreement in the past five weeks. The case so far appears to have more than its share of unusual events. Perhaps the government and the defense were hoping that the judge wouldn't probe too deeply. Instead, she did her job.
Situations like this call for AN EMERGENCY podcast, don’t you think? I need opinions and guesses more than I need facts. I mean, it’s obvious, isn’t it, this whole situation just confirms ALL my priors, regardless of any facts.
That diversion agreement is upsetting. It's baffling that any lawyer whose client has an addiction could look at it and advise their client: this is fine. It seems unlikely that Hunter Biden's lawyer is somehow particularly incompetent so do the terms of the diversion (not the bizarrely regressed nonprosecution terms) give us a glimpse into the business as usual that unfamous defendants have to deal with when diverted?
I've provided expert recommendations to courts about diversions for addictions. These are objectively terrible.
Because time and science have advanced beyond the 1960s and we came up with better interventions than screamshaming folks into abstinence: namely, harm reduction. We recognize that relapse is an expected part of recovery and built that into (effective) treatment plans. Change is hard and nonlinear and backslides are more effective as learning opportunities. (To be fair, that's not just addiction: change is general a process of failing towards success. consider any new year's resolution and the ratio of times you intended to do it versus times you actually did it.)
Sections 10.c, d, and h are incompatible with contemporary standards of addiction treatment because the goal of treatment, which has a nonlinear coarse, has a binary legal condition. Unless the Delaware District defines "refrain" and "material breach" more understandingly than I'm reading it?
Section 10.e reflects a disheartening naivete. There should already be a treatment provider arranged and any changes should need to be reported to the Probation office, not directed by them. Otherwise, a defendant is at the mercy of an overworked case manager coordinating an appointment with an overworked mental health worker listed on an outdated internal directory who likely quit ages ago and the fact that he never made it to his first appointment with a provider who never scheduled him because the email bounced because they don't work there anymore: well, he should have thought of that earlier instead of disrespecting the court with his ne'er-do-well attitude.
The terms as written are a set up for failure for anyone with an addiction.
For the first two "things that may have happened," you note that they would be mistakes. Would they be primarily prosecution mistakes, or mistakes shared by the prosecution and defense?
By that I think I mean: Who would stand to benefit more from some ambiguity here, the defense or the prosecution?
The judge seemed to be quite concerned that prosecutors were trying very hard to categorize this as a certain kind of plea which constrained her authority while hiding essential elements of it in the part she had no authority over. That whole maneuver just smells dishonest to me.
Thank you, Ken; clear and helpful as usual.
Thank you for this, Ken White! We miss popehat on twitter!
Could the government be wanting Hunter to plead guilty as a way of later "proving" that he knowingly took money from a foreign government and then they only have to prove he acted as an agent of that govt because he's already admitted to the facts related to the payment?
Basically, can they use the guilty pleasure against him in later prosecutions?
Hunter thought the pleas deal covered EVERYTHING related to the issues? I still don’t understand why this all took 5 years Ken.
Your point that we as news consumers want information and we want it now is so true.
This attitude can be attributed to that great late-20th-century philosopher-prince, Jim Morrison (aka Mister Mojo Risin'), who spoke for we Boomers when he sang,
"We want the world and we want it...NOW!!!"