Criminal trials have become a focal point as we head into the 2024 Presidential Elections. Putting aside the numerous trials faced by the former president, a case involving the current president’s son is drawing renewed attention. Although the potential effects of such a trial are not easy to predict, this case may reveal what USA Today calls “awkward details” about unpaid alimony. Could one man’s unpaid spousal support really affect the future of this nation? 

Ex-Wife Set to Testify in Upcoming Criminal Trial of President’s Son

In June of 2024, numerous media sources reported that the ex-wife of the president’s son was set to testify in not one but two criminal trials. These trials involve alleged tax and firearms offenses. In addition to these two trials, this individual faced a civil case over his alleged failure to pay his ex-wife over $1.7 million in alimony. 

This alleged misconduct could come to light in his criminal trials, and some legal observers believe that the ex-wife could also testify about her husband’s alleged drug use. The latter point is especially relevant because the defendant readily admitted he was “spiraling into drug addiction” during the civil case. Why did he make such an admission? Because his lawyers were attempting to use the defendant’s addiction to justify his failure to pay the alimony. In other words, their defense was that he had spent all of his ex-wife’s money on his addiction. 

The Unlikely Ukraine Connection

To make these cases even more complicated, they are at least somewhat connected to Ukraine. The president’s son divorced his ex-wife in 2017, and he subsequently served on the board of Burisma Holdings for about two years before his term expired in 2019. During this time, Hunter was supposed to pay his ex-wife 50% of anything he earned over $875,000 per year. Despite earning over $2 million per year during 2017 and 2018, the defendant did not pay his ex-wife the agreed-upon alimony. 

As a result of these factors, the court may explore some very uncomfortable details about the president’s son’s business dealings in Ukraine. Among other things, the court may attempt to determine the nature of his earnings, the duties he performed while serving on the board, how he was paid, and where the money went. Due to Ukraine’s persistent reputation for widespread corruption, this line of questioning could reveal all kinds of new revelations. 

Could This Really Affect the Elections?

The real question is whether this will have any effect on the US elections. Even if the defendant failed to pay his alimony, is this really enough to influence the outcome? Bloomberg seems to support this sentiment in an article entitled Why Hunter Biden’s Legal Woes Are Trouble for His Dad, Too. The article notes that if nothing else, the defendant’s legal issues could “hang over Joe Biden’s reelection campaign.” From a purely legal perspective, it is interesting to note how something as benign as a missed alimony payment could affect the outcome of the US elections.