Contreras’ 24-page decision makes quite a few references to an article POLITICO published in March 2021 detailing the weird episode through which Biden’s late brother’s spouse, Hallie Biden, allegedly discovered his .38-caliber handgun in his truck, disposed of it in a trash can behind a retailer and later returned to retrieve it, solely to search out it lacking, in keeping with a police report. Hunter Biden was engaged in a romantic relationship together with her on the time.

The Delaware State Police investigated out of concern that the lacking gun could possibly be utilized in a criminal offense, however a person who often rummaged within the trash returned the weapon to authorities a couple of days later, in keeping with the story. Secret Service brokers allegedly visited the gun retailer the place Hunter Biden purchased the weapon and requested for the acquisition data, however the proprietor declined to offer them, saying the matter was beneath the ATF’s jurisdiction. He later cooperated with ATF brokers.

A replica of the acquisition kind obtained by POLITICO final yr and referenced within the court docket opinion confirmed that Hunter Biden checked a field saying he was not on the time a person of, or hooked on, narcotics, even if he and his relations have mentioned he has struggled with drug dependancy for years.

Nevertheless, no expenses have been ever introduced in reference to the episode.

Hallie Biden and a lawyer for Hunter Biden declined to remark when POLITICO reached out to them final yr.

Contreras mentioned Hunter Biden’s dialogue of his drug issues in his memoir didn’t diminish his privateness curiosity in any data concerning the episode.

“Disclosure would reveal whether or not Hunter Biden was criminally investigated by ATF,” the choose wrote. “A person’s public disclosure of data that could possibly be probably incriminating in a normal sense doesn’t scale back his privateness curiosity in whether or not he was the topic of a specific federal felony investigation by a specific company.”

Contreras mentioned Hunter Biden’s relation to his father, the president, didn’t undercut his privateness curiosity as a authorized matter. “The Court docket isn’t conscious of any caselaw holding {that a} non-public citizen like Hunter Biden loses a way of non-public privateness for functions of [a Freedom of Information Act exemption] merely by being associated to a outstanding public official,” the choose wrote.

An Ohio-based blogger and web journalist, David Codrea, requested the data in November 2020 and filed go well with in August 2021 after the ATF failed to supply any paperwork. The Justice Division company initially advised Codrea it couldn’t discover any data, then mentioned it was trying to find them, then reversed course once more and mentioned it might not affirm the existence of any data, providing what is called a Glomar response.

Codrea filed an identical go well with in opposition to the Secret Service, however dropped it after the company mentioned it might find no data concerning the episode.

A lawyer for Codrea, Stephen Stamboulieh, declined to touch upon the choice.

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