A lawyer for the New York Times, David McCraw, revealed in a court filing on Friday that the State Department has started identifying records regarding Hunter Biden and agreed to hand over the first batch of records in late April.
The publication filed a lawsuit against the federal government in January, accusing the State Department of failing to respond in a timely manner to two FOIA requests submitted by reporter Kenneth Vogel, who wanted emails sent or received by five officials at the U.S. Embassy in Romania between August 2015 and December 2019.
The emails in question were related to “the possible improper use of federal government resources” by private citizens, including Hunter Biden and his associates, and the possible evasion and nonenforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Two of Hunter Biden’s friends, Tony Bobulinski and Devin Archer, who was sentenced this month to a year in prison as part of a fraud scheme in 2020, were also mentioned in the FOIA request.
In response to the FOIA request, the State Department told Vogel that it would not be able to hand over the records until 2023 at the earliest.
McCraw told the judge presiding over the lawsuit that the State Department had reached an agreement with the New York Times, and asked to move a court date scheduled for March 17, since it “may not be necessary” anymore.
“The parties are still negotiating the number of pages to be processed in and the frequency of each production. The parties respectfully propose to provide a status report to the Court on March 25, 2022, informing the court of the results of this negotiation,” he said.
The State Department has denied that it illegally slow-walked the New York Times’s FOIA request.