Hunter Biden’s legal defense has a problem: The patron paying the bills is running out of cash

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Less than a month before the start of his first trial, Hunter Biden may be losing a key financial lifeline.

Kevin Morris, a Hollywood entertainment lawyer who has long supported the president’s son, has told associates that he has run out of resources to help fund Biden’s legal defense, according to a person close to Morris who was granted anonymity to discuss private conversations.

“The reason Kevin got involved financially in the first place was that he could see that no one was going to help Hunter,” said the person. “Now, four and a half years later, there’s still no help — and now Kevin is completely tapped out. So just when Hunter is facing two criminal trials starting in a few weeks, he has no resources. It’s pretty dire.”

Reached for comment about this reporting, Morris confirmed the person’s account but declined to elaborate further. A spokesperson for Biden’s legal team also declined to comment.

Biden is scheduled to begin trial on June 3 on federal gun charges in Delaware. A separate case, in which Biden is charged with federal tax crimes, is scheduled to go to trial June 20 in California.

Morris has played a key role in handling Biden’s legal bills, as he detailed in an interview with lawmakers in January. The possibility that Morris can no longer serve as a benefactor is the latest sign of the tumult surrounding the president’s son in the final weeks of preparation for two trials that he — and his father — had hoped would never happen.

The person close to Morris said that the Hollywood lawyer faces financial constraints that present “a huge problem” and that there are concerns about how Biden will pay for expert witnesses to testify for him at his Delaware trial. It is unclear precisely how much Morris has spent thus far to support Biden, but in a January letter to the House oversight committee, Morris’ lawyer said Morris had loaned Biden more than $6.5 million.

At a pretrial hearing on Tuesday in Wilmington, Biden’s lead defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, signaled that the preparation for the first trial — on charges that Biden illegally bought a gun as a drug user and lied about it on a government form — is facing headwinds. As the hearing opened, Lowell told Judge Maryellen Noreika that for the first time in his long career, he wasn’t ready for a trial to start. He noted the complexity of Biden’s legal situation: two trials looming within weeks of each other, and appeals proceedings already underway in both jurisdictions.

Lowell told Noreika that he and his team have been preparing for the trial, but that one hurdle was finding expert witnesses to testify on a variety of evidentiary issues, including drug addiction and forensics. He said he found three experts who had “tentatively agreed” to get involved but that he was still working to finalize retention agreements for these people.

Experts who testify for defendants at trials can bill $500 per hour or more for their work. They can rebut the analysis that government experts provide about evidence presented at trial.

Lowell described having strained “resources” to handle preparation for two trials — currently scheduled to start in the same month — on two different coasts.

But the judge was unmoved, and declined his requests for the trial to be postponed.

It’s not clear how much Lowell, or the other lawyers working on Biden’s cases, are charging for their services. In other recent cases, Lowell has sought fees of $855 per hour and over $1,500 per hour.

Morris and Biden met in 2019 during now-President Biden’s campaign. They both were raised in the mid-Atlantic in Roman Catholic families, and immediately developed a close bond. At the time, Biden was trying to get his life on track and stay sober. Morris helped him get safe housing and pay his overdue tax bill. In his January interview with congressional investigators, Morris said he and Biden spoke every day and were like family.

CNN reported in October that Biden has racked up more than $10 million in legal bills over the years. Since becoming sober several years ago, the president’s son has focused on painting as his occupation. He signed with a New York gallerist, Georges Berges, to sell his work. But that gallerist told congressional investigators that the relationship was not as lucrative as he had hoped, and that Biden’s art would have sold for more if not for the baggage associated with his name.

“Had his name been somebody else, he would have been doing a lot better,” Berges said in his testimony. “I have artists that I don't think are as good that are selling for higher than he is. And so it's actually — I feel bad for him in so many ways because I think he's a great artist, and he just can't get a break.”

Of about 20 pieces of art Biden sold with Berges’ gallery, 11 works were sold to Morris, he said. Morris purchased the art by paying the gallery’s commission for the sale, and Biden’s share was handled without the gallery.

Berges also told lawmakers he stopped representing Biden last year.

“From a business perspective, it hasn’t been the best decision for me,” he said.