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Hunter Biden charged with federal tax, weapons offenses

The president's son agreed to a plea deal that averts a trial that would have generated days or weeks of distracting headlines for the White House.
Posted at 9:47 AM, Jun 20, 2023

Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, has reached a deal to plead guilty to federal tax crimes, according to a notice filed with the U.S. District Court in Delaware.

The letter, addressed to Hunter Biden, says that the defendant has agreed to plead guilty to two counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax. Both counts are misdemeanors. 

The president's son has also reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to settle a felony charge of possessing a firearm while he was addicted to drugs.  

For that count, Hunter Biden will go on pretrial diversion. Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani explained, "Pretrial diversion offers a criminal defendant the opportunity to resolve a matter with a lesser charge or no charge at all. If Hunter Biden complies with the terms of his probation, then the more serious felony addict in possession charge goes away."

Hunter Biden has been open about his past drug use. He wrote about his addiction in his book, "Beautiful Things," noting that his family never gave up on him.

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A spokesperson for the White House released a statement after the plea deal was announced on Tuesday.

"The President and First Lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life," the statement says. When questioned about the case during an event in California Tuesday afternoon, President Biden just said, "I’m very proud of my son."

The White House has previously said it was not involved in Hunter Biden's case. 

The U.S. Attorney overseeing the investigation was appointed by then-President Donald Trump and served under Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr. But Rahmani expressed some surprise about the charges and the sentence the two sides settled on after a five-year investigation. "This was a very good deal for Hunter Biden, and he should be thanking his attorneys. The fact that misdemeanor charges were filed and that Hunter Biden was offered the opportunity to participate in the diversion program is not something that I would have expected after a multi-year investigation."

When President Biden took office, he left that U.S. Attorney in his position.

Republicans were quick to sound off on the plea deal. Among them was Donald Trump Jr., who told Scripps News that he believes the deal "reeks of favoritism."

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