Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, made headlines on July 26, 2023, when he arrived at a federal courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware, to plead guilty to two federal misdemeanors for not paying federal taxes on time and a gun possession charge. However, the plea agreement collapsed during the hearing due to concerns over blanket immunity from prosecution. A revised deal was later agreed upon but put on hold.
The judge overseeing the case, Maryellen Noreika, expressed concerns about the constitutionality of the diversion clause and the immunity that Hunter Biden would receive. She believed that if the diversion agreement was deemed unconstitutional, then the entire plea deal would be unconstitutional, meaning that Hunter Biden would not receive the immunity he expected.
As a result, Hunter Biden ultimately pleaded not guilty because the judge could not accept the plea deal in its current form. Judge Noreika repeatedly expressed concerns about the constitutionality of the diversion deal, particularly regarding the felony gun charge. She believed that if Hunter Biden breached the deal, the judge would need to make a finding of fact before the government could bring charges.
The gun charge Hunter Biden faced was for illegally owning a Colt Cobra .38 Special handgun. He had reached a pretrial agreement that would delay the charges for 24 months under certain conditions, including being added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and not violating any local, state, or federal laws. If he followed the agreement, the charge would be dropped. Additionally, the agreement included immunity for crimes related to both the gun charge and the tax charge.
The Republican party has claimed that the Hunter Biden probe was politically motivated, but White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre pushed back against these claims, stating that the case was handled independently by the Justice Department under the leadership of a prosecutor appointed by former President Trump. She emphasized that Hunter Biden is a private citizen and that the president and first lady love and support their son as he continues to rebuild his life.
House Republicans have been investigating Hunter Biden's finances as part of their oversight probes into the Biden family. They have sought testimony from IRS whistleblowers who allege that their investigation into Hunter Biden was limited due to political influence. Republicans have also accused President Joe Biden of weaponizing federal agencies to cover up his family's alleged crimes.
The breakdown of the plea deal has raised questions about the handling of the case and potential political interference. U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who is overseeing the investigation, was appointed by President Trump and kept in his position by President Biden. There is no public indication that the White House attempted to intervene in the probe.
The plea deal's collapse has caused further delays in the case, and the judge has threatened to sanction Hunter Biden's legal team over a dispute regarding the removal of IRS whistleblower testimony from the court docket. The prosecutor who signed off on the deal, U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss, was appointed by President Trump and allowed to remain in his position by Attorney General Merrick Garland to complete the investigation.
Overall, the Hunter Biden case continues to attract attention and raise questions about political influence and the handling of criminal investigations involving public figures. As the case moves forward, it remains to be seen how it will impact both Hunter Biden's personal life and the broader political landscape.
0. “Hunter Biden's ‘Sweetheart' Plea Deal Falls Apart During Hearing” Newsweek, 26 Jul. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/hunter-bidens-sweetheart-plea-deal-falls-apart-during-hearing-1815507
1. “Hunter Biden pleads ‘not guilty' as plea deal falls apart during Delaware court appearance” Fox News, 26 Jul. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/hunter-biden-plea-deal-appears-fall-apart-first-court-appearance
2. “Hunter Biden pleads not guilty after plea deal is derailed” NBC News, 26 Jul. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/hunter-biden-expected-plead-guilty-criminal-tax-case-rcna96232
3. “Hunter Biden Agrees To Revised Plea Deal After Prosecutors Indicate Additional Charges” Forbes, 26 Jul. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/saradorn/2023/07/26/hunter-biden-plea-deal-may-collapse-after-prosecutors-indicate-additional-charges/
4. “Live updates: Hunter Biden to plead guilty to federal tax charges” CNN, 26 Jul. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/hunter-biden-tax-charges-hearing/index.html
5. “Hunter Biden hearing ends after judge is not ready to accept revised plea deal” CNN, 27 Jul. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/07/26/politics/hunter-biden-plea-hearing/index.html
6. “The Hunter Biden Plea Deal That Republicans Hate Hit a Hurdle – Mother Jones” Mother Jones, 26 Jul. 2023, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2023/07/the-hunter-biden-plea-deal-delayed-republican
7. “Hunter Biden's rejected plea deal puts Justice Department in hot seat” Fox News, 27 Jul. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/hunter-bidens-rejected-plea-deal-puts-justice-department-hot-seat