Hunter Biden’s sister-in-law, Hallie Biden, reportedly threw his handgun in a trash container in Delaware in 2020. Agents with Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) were reportedly involved.
Based on the reports, a transparency group called Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Secret Service asking for records related to the incident, including reports, telephone logs, and witness statements.
The Secret Service, in its initial April 2021 response, said it located records and would process them. But more than a year later, in October, it said the response was sent in error and that the agency had never actually located any responsive records.
The third change came in a recent court filing that was lodged after Judicial Watch sued over the matter. The Secret Service now says more than 100 records have been located.
“Since the Complaint was filed, the Parties have conferred about the intended scope of Judicial Watch’s FOIA request and, in response, USSS has run supplemental searches and located over 100 records, totaling over 400 pages, potentially responsive to Judicial Watch’s request under the clarified understanding of that request,” the Secret Service and Judicial Watch said in a joint case report filed on Nov. 10 with the U.S. court in Washington, D.C.
“The Secret Service’s changing story on records raises additional questions about its role in the Hunter Biden gun incident,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “One thing is clear, Judicial Watch’s persistence means the public may get records that the Secret Service suggested didn’t exist.”
The Secret Service did not respond to a request for comment.
The Secret Service told The Epoch Times in September, in response to a FOIA request similar to the one from Judicial Watch, that it “searched all Program Offices that were likely to contain potentially responsive records, and no records were located.”
In 2021, a Secret Service spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email that the agency “maintains there was no Secret Service involvement in the matter.”
The ATF has already acknowledged having records of the incident, but a judge ruled that the agency did not have to disclose them.
The Blaze, citing an anonymous source, reported in 2018 that in October of that year, Hallie Biden—the widow of Hunter’s brother, Beau—took Hunter Biden’s gun and put it in a garbage can outside of a supermarket. The Delaware State Police told the outlet that the case was referred to the Delaware Department of Justice.
The Delaware State Police rejected a request for records on the matter and the department of justice has not returned an inquiry.
Agents with the Secret Service and ATF visited the gun store from which Hunter Biden purchased the gun in question, according to The Blaze.
Politico, citing a police report and anonymous sources, reported in 2021 that the gun was disposed of near Janssen’s Market in Greenville, prompting calls from two people, including the store’s general manager.
“We complied with the police and gave them whatever security footage we could,” Paula Janssen, the general manager, told the outlet.
Police questioned both Hallie Biden and Hunter Biden. When the latter was asked if the gun had been used in a crime, Hunter Biden “became very agitated with me and asked me if I was intentionally trying to make him mad,” a police officer wrote. Hunter Biden also said he believed Hallie Biden thought he was going to commit suicide.
Text messages from Hunter Biden’s laptop reportedly showed that he was irate when he learned what Hallie Biden had done, telling her that she had “humiliate[d] me.”
“I’m sorry, I just want you safe. That was not safe,” she replied, adding that it was in a car that was unlocked with the windows down. “And I’m scared you would use it,” she also said.
A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not respond to a request for comment.
Government lawyers had claimed that the complaint lacked merit, but now say they’ll produce the documents they’ve identified, pending communication with the Executive Branch.
“USSS will complete its initial processing of all potentially responsive records by January 9, 2023, and send records out for any necessary consultations with other Executive Branch entities by that date. If any responsive, non-exempt records do not require consultation, USSS will produce those records to Plaintiff by January 9th. For any responsive, non-exempt records that are out on consultation, USSS intends to produce those to Plaintiff on a rolling, monthly basis as they become available,” the joint status report stated.
The parties proposed to file their next joint report by Jan. 13, 2023.
The report would include how many pages had been processed, how many were given to Judicial Watch, how many had been sent to the Executive Branch, and how many had been withheld.
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, the Trump appointee overseeing the case, agreed to the proposal.