The U.S. Attorney in DC objected to the claim. And on Tuesday, during a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary Committee, Estrada also backed down. POLITICO obtained a copy of the interview transcript, which is not public.
Estrada acknowledged in the interview that in the fall of 2022, he declined to “co-counsel” with Weiss on filing possible tax charges in California. Estrada cited the “practical impact of limited resources” in making the decision. But he said he didn’t stiffen Weiss; instead, according to Estrada, he offered to help in other ways.
“I discussed our analysis of the facts and the law to explain to him why we would not be co-counsel on the case, but then told him that we were happy to provide office space and administrative support to his lawyers,” Estrada told investigators. recounting a five-minute phone call with Weiss on October 19, 2022. “He thanked me for that and the call ended.”
Estrada also revealed that prior to his appointment as U.S. Attorney in September 2022, his office authorized at least two prosecutors from Weiss’s Delaware office to work as “special U.S. attorneys” in the Central District of California. Estrada said he believed the authorization meant Weiss could charge Hunter Biden in California without his permission.
The Hunter Biden investigation spans multiple jurisdictions because the president’s son lived in California and Washington, D.C., during years where he allegedly failed to pay federal income taxes.
Lawyers for Weiss and Hunter Biden came close to reaching a plea deal this summer that would have resolved the tax issues. But after the deal fell apart, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss special counsel, formalizing his ability to bring criminal charges anywhere in the country.
Weiss accused Biden of gun crimes last month in Delaware, and he indicated in court documents that he may soon file tax charges in California. But so far no tax has been imposed.
Lawyers for the president’s son said he late paid the taxes he owed, along with penalties and interest, in October 2021.
Without naming Hunter Biden, Estrada explained how his office decides when to charge people with tax crimes.
“My understanding is that when an individual did not pay taxes in the first place, but then paid those taxes with penalties and interest before a lawsuit was filed or an investigation is opened, we have never brought criminal charges,” he said during the interview with the House Judiciary. .