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Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal in Criminal Case Hits Snag During Court Hearing

July 27, 2023

 

 

 

 

 

A plea deal in the criminal case against Hunter Biden faced complications in a court hearing on Wednesday, as a federal judge expressed concerns about the terms of the agreement. Republicans were infuriated, alleging preferential treatment for the president’s son.

Hunter Biden was charged last month with two misdemeanor counts of failing to pay over $100,000 in taxes on income exceeding $1.5 million for 2017 and 2018. He was expected to plead guilty under an agreement with prosecutors, who intended to recommend two years of probation. However, prosecutors mentioned that Hunter Biden is still under active investigation without providing further details.

U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika, appointed by President Donald Trump, raised multiple concerns about the specifics of the deal and her role in the proceedings. The deal also involved resolving a separate gun charge, where Biden was accused of possessing a firearm as a drug user in 2018. If he adhered to the agreement’s terms, the gun case would be expunged from his record; otherwise, the felony charge carried a potential 10-year prison sentence.

The overlapping agreements led to confusion for the judge, who criticized the lawyers for seemingly wanting her to rubber-stamp the deal without proper consideration. She asked the defense and prosecutors to explain why she should accept the deal. In the meantime, Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to the tax charges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The breakdown of the proceedings came as a surprise after weeks of careful negotiation between Justice Department prosecutors and Biden’s attorneys. The plea deal aimed to resolve the case and avoid a lengthy trial, but it has only intensified political tensions, with Republicans claiming favorable treatment for Biden and the Justice Department continuing investigations into Donald Trump.

During the hearing, Hunter Biden initially answered “yes” when asked if he was pleading guilty of his own free will but later hesitated to move forward with the plea.

The judge expressed concerns about a provision in the agreement related to the gun charge, which seemed to assign her a role that she believed didn’t exist for judges. The attorneys disagreed on the deal’s terms, leading to heated discussions among them.

Additionally, the judge asked for more specifics about Biden’s business relationships and substance use issues as she reviewed the plea agreement. She also inquired about the entities referred to in the agreement without names, asking Hunter Biden to identify the Ukrainian and Chinese entities.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre emphasized that Hunter Biden’s case was a private matter and handled independently by the Justice Department, which is under the leadership of a prosecutor appointed by former President Trump. President Biden has said little publicly about the matter, except expressing support for his son.

As the proceedings continue, the situation remains politically charged, with Republicans demanding greater scrutiny of Hunter Biden’s dealings, including foreign payments. The Justice Department has yet to respond to requests for comment on the latest developments.

 

Source: Associated Press

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