The ex-Ukrainian prosecutor who helped fuel President Trump’s smear campaign against the Bidens secured a court ruling forcing Ukraine to open an investigation into his allegations, several outlets reported Thursday.
The prosecutor Viktor Shokin went to court to demand the investigation earlier this year, just as the Senate’s impeachment proceedings against Trump were coming to a close. His previous request with Ukraine’s State Investigation Bureau had gone nowhere, and Shokin’s claims about the Bidens have largely been debunked.
However, Ukrainian law allows for alleged victims to use a court process to force the State Bureau of Investigations to investigate their claims. The bureau confirmed the Shokin-desired investigation had been launched, according to the Washington Post, and experts noted to the Post that the timing indicated that it had done so in response to the court ruling.
The Kyiv Post, meanwhile, described Shokin’s success in getting the probe launched as a “legal technicality” and one that was “unlikely to lead to any serious investigation.”
Shokin’s allegations — which President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani laundered through Trump-aligned media figures last year — focus on the past presence of Joe Biden’s son Hunter on the board of a Ukrainian energy company that has been accused of corruption and the former vice president’s own efforts to oust Shokin from his prosecutorial job. Shokin has claimed that Biden pushed him out because he was investigating the company, Burisma.
In fact, it was Shokin’s failure to investigate Burisma and other apparent corruption that led to Joe Biden, with the backing of the broader international community, to push for his firing.
In his petition to the court, Shokin claimed that Biden engaged in blackmail, referring to a loan guarantee to Ukraine that the U.S. partially conditioned on Shokin’s removal, and that Biden violated international law by pushing for Shokin’s firing.
Shokin’s lawyer told the Washington Post that case opened by Ukrainian prosecutors does not explicitly mention the Bidens, but rather refers to a U.S. citizen.