A plea deal between President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and the Justice Department is on hold after a dramatic court hearing Wednesday.
Hunter Biden failed to pay between $1.1 million and $1.5 million in federal taxes before the legal deadlines and was poised to plead guilty to two tax charges with prosecutors agreeing to recommend a sentence of probation.
But before the original plea could be entered, the deal began to unravel and a revised agreement reached during the hearing was not accepted by the judge.
Hunter Biden at the hearing pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to pay taxes on more than $1.5 million in income in 2017 and 2018 despite owing more than $100,000, prosecutors allege.
He did not enter a plea in a separate case where he is charged with unlawfully owning a firearm while addicted to and using a controlled substance, a felony.
Hunter Biden’s lawyers and prosecutors disagreed in court over whether the deal they had reached would have prevented the younger Biden from being charged with any other crimes, with defense lawyer Chris Clark at one point saying the deal was “null and void.”
The career IRS agents told Congress that Justice Department officials undercut their attempts to further scrutinize Biden family members, slow-walked requests for subpoenas and search warrants and blocked Weiss from filing the felony tax evasion charges that they had recommended.
Republicans are hardly satisfied with the outcome, particularly as the Justice Department indicted former President Donald Trump in an unrelated case where he is accused of mishandling classified documents.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., compared the outcome of Hunter Biden’s case to the Trump documents case now heading toward federal court and said, “If you are the president’s son, you get a sweetheart deal.”
Mr. Trump’s first impeachment was triggered by his pressure campaign on Ukraine to help show potential wrongdoing by Hunter Biden connected to his work as a board member of a Ukrainian energy company. And for the past 18 months, House Republicans have put Hunter Biden at the heart of an investigation that they maintain will show that his father abused his power as vice president and president to enrich his family.
But no evidence has surfaced that President Biden took any substantive action to help his son or his son’s business partners, and the yearslong federal criminal investigation under Mr. Weiss has not implicated him. Mr. Weiss looked at a range of Hunter Biden’s activities, including his international business when his father was vice president and later when Hunter was addicted to crack cocaine, and pursued only the narrow tax and gun charges.
The benefit of this president is that his policies are the most progressive of any president to date in terms of treating them as the medical issues they are,” Kennedy said. “In a sense, he is like my father was, from an old school. They kept this under wraps, it was shameful. They didn’t talk about it. But you know, to his credit, his policies reflect an enlightened approach.”