Hunter Biden’s former best friend, Devon Archer, has been betrayed and abandoned by the Biden family — and who could blame him for feeling aggrieved?
The president’s son, who once told Archer he was “part of a great family — not a sideshow, not deserted by them even in your darkest moments,” won’t return calls to his former business partner.
Now, barring a last-ditch appeal by his lawyer, Archer has less than five weeks left before he has to go to jail to serve a one-year, one-month sentence over a fraud he says he had no knowledge his then-partners were committing, and which cost him his life’s savings.
Friends who attended the sentencing in Manhattan last month say that the father of three has mentally prepared himself for prison, and that his hopes for a presidential pardon have faded.
Prosecutors from the Southern District of New York two weeks ago rejected Archer’s arguments to postpone prison time and the forfeiture of his assets, warning that if his sentencing appeal is successful, “he might well receive a higher sentence.”
If his appeal fails, the only way he could avoid jail would be if he filed a Rule 35(b) federal motion to ask the court for leniency and a reduced sentence if they find Archer has provided “substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person,” says a former prosecutor from the Southern District of New York. For instance, if he “flipped” on the Bidens.
Archer already has shown a willingness to cooperate with authorities. He testified last summer to the Delaware grand jury investigating Hunter Biden over tax evasion, money laundering and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, allegations unrelated to Archer’s fraud conviction.
A source involved in the legal proceedings says the focus of the Delaware US attorney’s investigation is not just on Hunter but equally on Democratic lobbying firm Blue Star Strategies and potential FARA violations in their work for the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma that paid Hunter and Archer $1 million a year each.
“Although I know in my heart that I am innocent of the charges levied against me, I respect the process,” Archer said when he threw himself at the mercy of the court in a Feb. 14 letter to Manhattan Judge Ronnie Abrams that was obtained by The Post.
Judge Abrams, who sentenced him to jail last month, ordered he forfeit $15 million and pay his share of $43 million restitution, has said she thought Archer was “innocent,” “lacked the requisite intent” and lost money on the $60 million fraud cooked up by his co-defendants to cheat investors in a Native American tribal bond scheme.
‘A downward spiral’
Archer, 47, revealed to the judge that he has needed “extensive therapy” to overcome suicidal thoughts and feelings of despair over the court case hanging over him for more than six years. He feared financial ruin for his wife and children and the loss of their family homes.
“If it was not for my children and wife, I would at times choose not to live. The day I received the subpoena in the fall of 2015 I was completely and utterly shocked, and from that day on, my life has remained in a downward spiral as I have come to learn exactly what was going on,” he wrote.
“I have sought extensive therapy to try and combat the suicidal thoughts that plague me. I have suffered emotionally beyond what I ever imagined possible prior to the start of this proceeding.
“Even with the blessings of marrying my high school sweetheart, a loving family, and what was at one point a blossoming and exciting career, I find myself struggling to find the desire to keep fighting . . .
“I trusted the wrong people and for that I am deeply sorry. I am deeply sorry for all the people that I have hurt and the pain I have caused my family, friends, business associates, and those I do not even know. I was heartbroken to learn of pensioners losing their hard-earned retirement savings and the Wakpamni Tribe having their name dragged through the mud irreparably.
“I have lost six years of family and professional life, and over $10 million of my friends’ and my own family’s hard-earned money; not including the millions in legal fees I have incurred and counting . . .
“Though I had lived a charmed life for the most part through 2015, I come from a middle-class background, and I am very proud of the work I did to create and build a private equity firm from scratch. However, since the indictment and the subsequent trial I have lost all confidence in my professional capabilities, and I have absolutely ruined my career with finality.”
A close group of friends Archer has known since his days as a lacrosse star at North Shore HS in Glen Head, Nassau County, has been supporting him during his legal ordeal and attended his sentencing last month, along with his wife, Krista, her sister and his brother.
They agreed to talk to The Post to remedy what they say is a false impression the public has about Archer, who they say is a “family man,” “devoted” father and “loyal friend.”
“The things I’ve seen written about him and the light he’s cast in, it hurts me because it’s just not the guy I know [and] I have known him from the crib,” says one friend.
“It is not something he would be involved in, stealing someone’s money. It doesn’t fit his character at all.”
Today, Archer is “Mr. Mom,” ferrying his two sons and daughter, ages 7 to 15, to school and coaching a lacrosse team of 8-year-olds on weekends. He has not been able to open a bank account or hold a credit or debit card for the past six years.
“I’ve coached lacrosse with him, our kids are similar ages . . . The man I know always has been a nice guy, never had an attitude or a problem with anyone. He was always very smart, really likeable and charismatic. Everyone liked him . . . but that can work against you sometimes.”
Archer, a former Abercrombie & Fitch model, the son of an art teacher and a Vietnam veteran with PTSD, won a lacrosse scholarship to Yale. There, he befriended John Kerry’s stepson Chris Heinz, who introduced him to fellow Yalie Hunter, with whom he launched an investment firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners.
For an aspirational middle-class kid from Long Island, the friendship with a wealthy trust-funder and son of one of the most powerful politicians in the world seemed a blessing. But it ended up destroying his life.
Archer and his lawyer did not return e-mails asking for comment.