“Who was the real me? Again, I was a person with many faces.”
These words by author Milan Kundera could very well have been written to Kevin Morris, a key figure in the unraveling Hunter Biden scandal.
Morris was unknown to most people until he emerged as a Democratic donor who reportedly paid Hunter Biden millions of dollars to settle unpaid taxes and maintain a lavish lifestyle. There wasn't. The Hollywood lawyer and producer portrayed himself on a Biblical scale as a good Samaritan, a good man who found a desperate stranger on the street and gave him more than $5 million.
His attorney, Brian M. Sullivan, said, “Hunter is not only Kevin's client, he is his friend, and the Republican Party chairman and his allies are incapable of conceiving such a thing.'' However, this does not prohibit you from helping a friend in need.” ”
This statement captures Morris' problem. It's becoming increasingly difficult to determine who Morris was at any given moment: Democratic donor, lawyer, friend. Indeed, this issue some of us have been raising for months.
Lawyers are not obligated to pay their clients' bills. Specifically, California Bar Rule 1.8.5(a) states:[a] A lawyer shall not pay or agree to pay, directly or indirectly, any personal or business expenses of a prospective or existing client that the lawyer or the lawyer's law firm guarantees will be paid. or shall not be expressed. ” You are expected to maintain clear expressive boundaries. This is also the subject of a new attorney complaint filed this week by conservative legal groups.
Friends describe Morris as a “rule breaker” and admit that his relationship with Hunter has raised eyebrows. “He's certainly careless, but he's a gunslinger,” one told the Los Angeles Times. “This is the way he rolls.”
But legal and ethical rules are designed to avoid the use of guns in general and to avoid ambiguity in particular.
Hunter calls him both his lawyer and his “brother.” Lead attorney Abby Rowell said, “I have never known anyone like Kevin in defending any other client, other than those in the client's immediate family.”
When the relationship began, Morris was acting as a loyal Democratic donor.
He was introduced to Hunter at a political fundraiser in 2019 by another producer and wealthy Democrat, Lanette Phillips. Shortly after, Morris gave Hunter a large sum of money and legal advice. This reportedly includes paying off taxes that Mr. Hunter had been in arrears with for years before he faced criminal charges. That included paying for Hunter's lavish lifestyle.
The last thing Mr. Morris wants to do is avoid being labeled a “Democratic donor” because these payments could be considered unreported campaign contributions. unknown. Morris was called during Joe Biden's presidential campaign. And on February 7, 2020, Prime Minister Morris warned that the tax represented “considerable personal and political risks”. He seems to have tried to resolve his political responsibility by paying off his taxes, calling it a “debt.”
These “loans” would continue, but Morris insists they were all standard “loans.” However, he is not a banker. He repeatedly referred to Hunter as his “client.”
It is also important that these million dollars be treated as loans, as this could create new tax issues if these were actually gifts. Hunters must declare such “gifts”.
Given Hunter's history of harassing various companies and parties, few would think the loan would be a good risk. In fact, he reportedly once faced complaints for failing to pay high-class prostitutes. He was also accused of using a credit card connected to his father to pay an alleged Russian call girl. Even an art dealer who recently sold Hunter's art reportedly testified that Hunter never reimbursed him for the show.
The art puts an interesting twist on Morris' mysterious role. Art dealer Georges Bergé recently dismissed White House claims that Hunter was prohibited from knowing the names of buyers under the comprehensive ethics system. He acknowledged that Hunter knew the identities of 70 percent of the buyers.
It wasn't difficult. Despite news reports that buyers rushed to buy the art, it turns out that Morris was the main buyer of the art. But it's worth noting that Morris reportedly only paid Berges a 40 percent commission on the $875,000 purchase. It is unclear whether Morris used his sale to cancel some of his loan debt.
If the money is to be used for that purpose, it would be wise to treat it as a loan. All you have to do is have your hunters create a suspicious piece of art and arrange for your allies to host an art show in New York. Next, have your media associate write about how the buyer was “captivated” by Hunter's talent.
Finally, you pay a fee on the excess value of the art while amortizing the value of the art as a type of in-kind payment on the loan. Although many scoffed at the Pablo Picasso-level pricing of Hunter's artwork (some works approaching $500,000), these high prices count as direct or indirect payments on the loan. would be helpful.
It is not yet known how these purchases and loans were handled, or whether Morris was acting as a donor, friend, or attorney. Now, Morris has added a new role to this pile of identities, reportedly supporting a new film about Hunter Biden.
Please call me “Mr.” “Biden Goes to Washington” is an effective rewrite of the Frank Capra classic, but apparently only the corrupt establishment wins.
In the film, a young recruit to the U.S. Senate battles corruption in Washington, where senior senators have sold access and influence to wealthy businessman James Taylor. Taylor scoffs at his idea that he might challenge the establishment. After all, they control the media and what the public reads and listens to. Taylor promised his senior senators: I’ve done that all my life…leave public opinion to me. ”
Mr. Morris still struggles to shape public opinion, and in Hollywood, movies create reality.
Mr. Morris is “shaping public opinion” and the media is expected to support such efforts as well.
Many in Washington believe Hunter's stunt of defying subpoenas, holding a press conference and later crushing his own contempt hearing was literally a made-for-TV moment. These scenes were captured on film and will no doubt be featured in a new movie depicting his heroic struggle.
The problem is the audience for the movie. Obviously, at the Beltway, audiences will be sobbing with emotion as they watch Hunter battle an influence-trafficking investigation. They'll cheer the moment Joe Biden channels John Wayne and declares, “No one makes fun of Biden.”
But if the original film had ended with corrupt Sen. Joseph Payne and wealthy Taylor emerging victorious against the do-gooders and supporting “Boy Rangers,” most audiences would have felt the same thrill. I'm sure you didn't feel it. Jimmy Stewart's main character.
The question is, who will play Morris, or more precisely, how many people will play this “man of many faces”?
Jonathan Turley is the JB and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University School of Law.
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