A federal appeals court reinstated the fraud conviction of Hunter Biden’s former business partner on Wednesday, reversing a lower court judge who had granted his request for a retrial.
Hunter Biden was not implicated in the scheme, which defrauded the Oglala Sioux Indian tribe out of the proceeds of bond sales. But the scheme was committed under the auspices of a broader business venture in which Hunter Biden was involved, and the perpetrators invoked his name to bolster their legitimacy, according to testimony and a consultant’s slide presentation presented at trial. A lawyer for Hunter Biden has said his name was invoked without his knowledge and that he cut ties with the perpetrators when he learned of their misconduct.
Devon Archer, whose conviction was reinstated by Wednesday’s ruling, had partnered with Hunter Biden in Rosemont Seneca, a Washington-based investment firm. Starting in 2014, the pair served together on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company accused of corruption, at the same time that his father oversaw U.S. policy towards Ukraine. Hunter Biden has called his decision to take the board seat “a mistake,” while Joe Biden has defended the decision, saying, “my son did nothing wrong.”
A lawyer for Archer, Matthew Schwartz, decried the ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. “As the experienced federal judge who presided over Mr. Archer’s month-long trial determined, he ‘lacked the requisite intent and is thus innocent of the crimes charged,’” Schwartz said. “Today’s ruling, which second-guesses that judge’s decision without having sat through the evidence and listened to the witnesses, is beyond disappointing.”
Archer was convicted in June 2018 of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, but five months later, trial Judge Ronnie Abrams of the Southern District of New York overturned the conviction.
In its ruling, the Second Circuit wrote that the District Court “abused its discretion” in overturning the jury’s verdict.