Hunter Biden Accused of Cashing in on Father's Position With LA Art Sale Event
20:45 GMT 09.10.2021 (Updated: 09:00 GMT 15.11.2022)
© AP Photo / Andrew HarnikPresident-elect Joe Biden hugs his son Hunter Biden on stage Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del
© AP Photo / Andrew Harnik
Hunter Biden, who's missing laptop was found last year containing a trove of incriminating material including photos of him using drugs, says he took up painting as part of his recovery from a long-term crack cocaine addiction.
Hunter Biden has been accused of profiting from his father's White House residency through the sale of his art for sums of up to half a million dollars.
The paintings by President Joe Biden's son were selling for upwards of $75,000 at a "pop-up" showing he attended in person in Los Angeles last week, ahead of a bigger show in New York's Soho district.
A team of private lawyers is reportedly vetting potential buyers, and gallery owner George Berges has pledged to reject any offer he finds suspicious or over the asking price.
But the LA event has thrown serious doubt on the veracity of a White House agreement in July that the wayward son would not know the identities of the buyers.
"The whole thing is a really bad idea," former chief White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter told The Washington Post. "The initial reaction a lot of people are going to have is that he’s capitalizing on being the son of a president and wants people to give him a lot of money."
The recent sales showed that the "veil-of-secrecy" policy "is not happening," Painter added.
And New York art gallery Mark Strauss told Fox News the prices reportedly being paid for Hunter Biden's "not bad" daubs — up to $500,000 — was astronomical for any artist who had never sold a painting before.
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Biden has already drawn fire over his LA art exposition after it emerged that he and the 200-odd guests at Milk Studios did not wear face masks — flouting his father's Democratic Party's order for all California residents over the age of two to mask up in indoor public spaces against the risk of COVID-19.
A video of the event shows Hunter clasping hands with a woman who whispers in his ear, as other guests huddle in tight groups.
LA writer Hannah Bhuiya, who attended Hunter’s viewing told the Daily Mail there were secret service VIP protection agents in “every corner” of the room.
"You can tell because they all had wires in their ears. They were all wearing khaki trousers, but very discreet around the edges of the room,” Bhuiya said, adding that she went along because she "wanted to see what the son of the president’s crowd would be, what that would be like".