Hunter Biden faces a heightened legal scrutiny with an indictment on nine tax charges as part of a special counsel investigation into the business dealings of President Joe Biden’s son, unfolding against the backdrop of the 2024 election. Filed on Thursday, these new charges—comprising three felonies and six misdemeanors—are in addition to federal firearms charges in Delaware alleging Hunter Biden violated laws barring drug users from possessing guns in 2018. The indictment follows the collapse of a summer plea deal that would have spared him jail time, setting the stage for a potential trial while his father campaigns for reelection.
Special counsel David Weiss asserted that Hunter Biden had “spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle rather than paying his tax bills.” The charges revolve around approximately $1.4 million in taxes owed by Hunter Biden between 2016 and 2019, a period during which he acknowledged grappling with addiction. Although the back taxes have since been settled, the possibility of a trial looms, and if convicted, the 53-year-old Hunter Biden could face a maximum of 17 years in prison. Weiss confirmed that the special counsel probe remains ongoing.
In response, defense attorney Abbe Lowell accused Weiss of succumbing to “Republican pressure” and contended that, absent the Biden name, charges in both Delaware and California would not have been brought. The White House refrained from commenting on Thursday’s indictment, directing inquiries to the Justice Department or Hunter Biden’s representatives.
Charging documents in California outline expenditures on drugs, strippers, luxury hotels, and exotic cars, with prosecutor Leo Wise emphasizing the conspicuous absence of attention to tax obligations. The indictment coincides with congressional Republicans pursuing an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, alleging an influence-peddling scheme with his son. As the House prepares to vote on formally authorizing the inquiry next week, no evidence has surfaced to substantiate claims of Joe Biden abusing his role or accepting bribes.
The separate, longstanding criminal investigation into Hunter Biden, initially expected to conclude with a plea deal, encountered criticism as a “sweetheart deal.” Hunter Biden would have received two years’ probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges and avoided prosecution on the gun charge if he stayed out of trouble. Amidst allegations of mishandling and delay, IRS investigators Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler credited for the new charges claimed “complete vindication” of their thorough investigation, which has been denied by Justice officials.
The fresh charges encompass filing a false return, tax evasion felonies, and misdemeanors related to failure to file and failure to pay. The defense plans to contest these charges, potentially relying on immunity provisions from the original plea deal. However, prosecutors dispute the validity of these provisions, emphasizing that the documents were not signed by a judge. Additionally, the defense aims to seek the dismissal of gun charges, deeming them “unprecedented and unconstitutional.”
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