For those of us who have followed the Hunter Biden scandal closely, one figure remains mysterious in his role in the possible tax violations of the president’s son. Kevin Morris is a wealthy entertainment lawyer who allegedly paid up to $2.8 million in back taxes for Hunter. I have previously discussed the relationship and expressed uncertainty about whether Morris was acting as a friend or an attorney (using personal funds in a representational matter can present ethical issues). Now Morris is the subject of an ethics complaint by the conservative group Marco Polo, who lured him into an exchange of hoaxes for refuting laptop claims.
Following the New York Times and other outlets admitting that the Hunter Biden laptop was genuine from the start, President Biden moved from his long denial of wrongdoing to a type of addiction defense.
Morris received a text from “Jon Cooper” on May 19 saying he was working with an “OpSec [operations security] collective who broke the laptop. Morris took the bait by encouraging Cooper to share information about discrediting those who used the laptop to implicate the Bidens. At some point, according to the daily mail, Morris said to Cooper “You know this is historic, right? As if you were a hero. As for the real ones.
Morris allegedly threatened the band’s association and engaged in unprofessional language after learning he had been tricked by the emails.
Morris was reportedly keen to get the bogus researcher to produce material to deny the story.
Morris allegedly called the associate a “f***ing moron”, “f***nut” and threatened that “I’m going to take all your money”. He added that “I know where you live” and “you’re gonna love being a buttboy for 20 years man. Lube up.
We’ve discussed such bullying rhetoric before from lawyers like Michael Cohen. I have long denounced these threats as a scourge on our profession. Cohen, however, was disbarred for his crimes, not for his abusive conduct as a lawyer.
I am always a little skeptical of such complaints, which may raise free speech issues in the restriction of public speech. This includes past instances where I have opposed discipline for public criticism of judges.
This complaint, however, returns to the dangerously vague relationship between Morris and Biden. Was it an attorney-client relationship or a personal relationship? If it were the latter, the effort to discipline Morris would be even more problematic in my view.
In seeking to dismiss this action, Morris will have to add clarification to this relationship. If he was acting as a lawyer, his financial dealings proved more damaging than his verbal transgressions.