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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Hunter Biden was Destined to Lose His Criminal Case with Abbe Lowell as His Defense Counsel

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on June 13, 2024

IMAGE: Attorney Abbe Lowell (left), with Hunter Biden (right).

An Editorial Opinion


My criminal defense teams of past years could have won Hunter Biden’s 3-count federal criminal cases 10 times out of 10, with our eyes closed.  It was a simple case.  It was the kind of lightweight case that we would use for scrimmaging before the big games.


I personally worked with Abbe Lowell in the case of U.S. v. Richard Scrushy, an 85-count healthcare fraud case brought by federal prosecutors in Birmingham, Alabama against former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy from 2003 to 2005. 


Scrushy hired Abbe Lowell early in the case on the strength of his national reputation, even though Lowell had been recycled among a number of big Washington law firms.  I was the lead attorney on Scrushy's criminal defense team -- a choice that did not sit well with Lowell. 


By 2003, I had won 152 straight courtroom victories in federal civil and criminal cases. I did not know of any criminal cases Abbe Lowell had tried that resulted in “Not Guilty” jury verdicts for his clients. Lowell had represented plenty of big-name clients, but I was not aware of anyone he had freed from the grips of federal prosecutors.


In 2004, I allowed Abbe Lowell to handle one of the many routine pretrial court hearings in Scrushy's case.   Lowell was arrogant and awful.  His arrogance at the courthouse turned off courthouse security officers, courtroom personnel, the judge’s law clerk, and the U.S. Magistrate who was conducting the hearing.

What is worse, Lowell wanted to pursue a guilty plea deal even though Scrushy was innocent of all of the charges against him.  Scrushy always maintained his innocence, in private conversations and public news conferences. Furthermore, Scrushy never lied to his team of defense attorneys about any aspect of the case, which made defending him relatively easy.


After the pretrial hearing fiasco, I consulted with Scrushy and we fired Abbe Lowell.  He was stunned by his firing, especially since the decision to terminate Lowell was made by a local black attorney whom Lowell saw as inferior to him in every way.


In my view, Abbe Lowell did not possess the knowledge, skills, and trial abilities necessary to win a high-profile, complex criminal case in a situation where losing was not an acceptable option

I ran Scrushy's criminal defense team like a Navy Seals rescue mission.  I quickly discovered that Lowell was not capable of performing at the level expected of a Navy Seal.  The other defense team members I had assembled could perform at that level and did so consistently.


I later learned that Abbe Lowell’s national reputation had been carefully crafted and widely promoted by Washington public relations firms. It was a mirage. Lowell could not litigate his way out of a torn paper bag on a sunny day.


On June 28, 2005, my defense team won Richard Scrushy‘s criminal case by defeating prosecutors on all 85 felony counts, via extensive pretrial motions and our full-court press on government witnesses during a trial that lasted six months. 

No white-collar criminal defendant before or since Richard Scrushy's case has defeated federal prosecutors on 85 felony charges in a single-defendant case.


Tuesday’s guilty verdicts in Hunter Biden’s case confirmed that I made the right decision by firing Abbe Lowell in Richard Scrushy’s case.  This guy is an expert at getting paid, but a "loser" at winning cases.

Once Hunter Biden put his life in Abbe Lowell's hands, I knew he was destined to lose his criminal case.

Hunter Biden's Pardon

Joe Biden should pardon his son Hunter in this case, but only if he also pardons the thousands of first-time, non-violent offenders who were convicted of violating the same federal statutes.

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