LOS ANGELES >> President Joe Biden’s son pleaded not guilty today to federal tax charges filed after the failure of a plea deal that would have spared him the spectacle of a criminal trial during the 2024 campaign.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Hunter Biden has been charged with nine felony and misdemeanor crimes. The charge stems from what federal prosecutors say was a four-year scheme to miss paying $1.4 million owed to the IRS and instead used the money to finance an extravagant lifestyle Which by his own admission involved drugs and alcohol.
Judge Mark Scarsi told Biden, “We are here today because you have been charged by the United States of America with a criminal offense.”
The judge fixed June 20 as a probable hearing date during the half-hour long hearing.
Meanwhile, Hunter Biden has also been accused of lying on federal forms for gun buyers in Delaware in October 2018, when he swore he did not use or be addicted to illegal drugs. At that time he was addicted to crack cocaine. He is also accused of illegally possessing a gun and has pleaded not guilty in that case.
The charges all come from a years-long federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s tax and business dealings, which was expected to end in the summer with a plea agreement after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor tax charges. He was to get two years’ probation. If he had stayed out of trouble he would also have avoided prosecution on gun charges.
The deal unraveled when a federal judge, who was expected to approve the deal, began questioning it instead. Now, the tax and gun cases are moving forward as part of an unprecedented confluence of political and legal drama: As the 2024 election approaches, the Justice Department is actively investigating the case against the president’s son and Republican front-runner Donald Trump. Trump is suing both.
Hunter Biden’s original proposed plea deal with prosecutors was dismissed as a “sweetheart deal” by Republicans, including Trump. The former president is facing criminal problems of his own — 91 charges in four separate cases alleging he conspired to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to Biden, a Democrat. He also appeared in court today in New York for closing arguments in his civil fraud trial.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer Abbey Lowell referred to the failed deal to the judge today, suggesting there was interference from Congress. Lowell had previously accused special counsel David Weiss of “bowing to Republican pressure.”
“We resolved this case in the summer of 2023 and then things happened,” Lowell told the judge.
Hunter Biden’s criminal proceedings are also taking place in parallel with so far unsuccessful efforts by congressional Republicans to link his business dealings to his father. Republicans are leading an impeachment investigation against President Biden over claims he engaged in an influence peddling scheme with his son. Hunter Biden ignored a congressional subpoena to appear for closed-door testimony, insisting he wanted to testify publicly. He made a surprise appearance at a congressional hearing on Wednesday as House Republicans moved to impeach him for contempt of Congress charges.
No evidence has yet emerged to prove that Joe Biden abused his role in his current or previous office or took bribes, although questions have been raised about the ethics surrounding the Biden family’s international business dealings.
In an interview airing today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” First Lady Jill Biden said she thought the GOP’s treatment of her son was “cruel.”
“And I’m really proud of how Hunter has rebuilt his life after addiction. You know, I love my son,” she said. “And it has – it has hurt my grandchildren. And this is what I am very worried about, that this is affecting their lives as well.”
If convicted on the tax charges, Hunter Biden, 53, could face a maximum of 17 years in prison. After the plea agreement failed, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to handle the case. A special counsel is appointed to handle cases in which the Justice Department itself considers itself conflicted or where it is considered in the public interest for someone outside the government to intervene.