Lawyers for Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, have accused federal prosecutors of “renegeing” on a previous plea deal in which Hunter would have pleaded guilty to tax crimes in exchange for a recommended no-jail sentence. However, the lawyers also stated that a second agreement allowing Hunter to escape conviction for a gun-related crime is still valid and binding. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika has ordered U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss to respond to the filing. This is the latest development in the Hunter Biden criminal case, which faced disruptions during a hearing on July 26.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss as special counsel for the case after plea talks with Hunter Biden’s lawyer failed. The filing also revealed that Hunter would likely face trial in California or Washington, D.C., and could face additional charges. Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Chris Clark, expressed confidence that his client would eventually find resolution and be able to move on successfully. At the July 26 hearing, Hunter planned to plead guilty to two counts of failure to pay federal income taxes on earnings of over $1.5 million in 2017 and 2018. Weiss’s office had recommended probation for those convictions.
The plea agreements fell apart when Judge Noreika raised questions about their terms and whether they aligned with federal case law. One major point of contention was the requirement for the judge to determine whether Hunter violated the gun agreement over a two-year period, rather than the U.S. Department of Justice. Hunter Biden’s lawyer argued that this requirement would prevent the deal from becoming politicized in the future, alluding to the possibility of Donald Trump becoming president in 2024 and ordering the DOJ to take action against Hunter. After granting more time for the parties to address her concerns, Judge Noreika accepted Hunter Biden’s not guilty plea to the tax crimes. In their recent filing, Hunter’s lawyers stated that the previous issues raised by the judge are now moot due to the U.S. government’s decision to renege on the plea agreement.