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M&Co CEO’s Interview on Litigation Communications

by M&Co. Staff

President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, may have just saved his father’s campaign from a major headache.

On Tuesday, court documents revealed Biden planned to plead guilty to a series of federal misdemeanor charges later this week, averting a trial and bringing a yearslong push by conservatives for his prosecution in at least one case to a swift close.

Conservatives will likely continue pursuing the Bidens, particularly as Congress continues pushing for evidence on an alleged influence-peddling scheme involving both the president and his son. But from a crisis communications standpoint, experts say Hunter Biden played it right.

In pleading guilty, crisis communications experts tell Newsweek the younger Biden showed a willingness to sideline himself from playing a visible role in the 2024 presidential race, helping to reduce the number of negative stories to emerge around his father’s name as he seeks re-election in 2024.

“When you’re working with defendants you have to try and measure how realistic they are on the situation,” Montieth Illingworth, a former journalist and now-CEO of his own public relations firm that handles litigation communications. “And someone who’s not realistic also tends to be intemperate, and that intemperate person is not going to take advice. Trump clearly fits squarely in that category. You can look for the best deal you can, you pay the price whatever that may be, and you’re left to fight another day. Then you keep quiet, because all speaking out does is complicate your situation even more.”

But when the government is on the other side of the courtroom, Illingworth said, defendants will have to be ready to match them dollar-for-dollar before they can even think to outrun them. And even then, it’s ultimately the American public you need to win over. With more than a year to go until election day, Trump will need to have the stamina to maintain the support he continues to have.

“We get all wrapped up in what [Trump’s] strategy is and gaming what he’ll get away with or not,” he added. “But this really is not about him. This is about us, the American people, and about why we would support someone like that.”

The full article can be found on Newsweek.