Updated Jun 20, 2023, 11:06am EDT
politicsNorth America

Hunter Biden to plead guilty to tax charges and avoid gun charge prosecution

Hunter Biden
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI /Contributor/AFP
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The News

Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s 53-year-old son, has been charged with two tax misdemeanors of failing to pay federal taxes and one firearm felony of unlawful possession a gun while addicted to a substance, according to U.S. District Court filing.

He has reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to plead guilty to the two tax charges and avoid being prosecuted for the firearm charge, per the filing.

The combined tax liability from his failure to pay taxes in 2017 and 2018 totals around $1.2 million, the Washington Post reported. The firearm charge will be dropped so long as Biden proves he can remain sober for 24 months and agrees to never purchase a firearm again, according to his probation agreement reported by The New York Times.

White House spokesperson Ian Sams said in a statement, “The President and First Lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life. We will have no further comment.”

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Know More

The agreement and Biden’s contingent pleas are subject to a federal judge’s approval.

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U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who was nominated by President Donald Trump in 2018, led Biden’s prosecution. President Biden kept Weiss on the case to avoid having his appointed prosecutor oversee his son’s case.

Chris Clark, Biden’s attorney, told Semafor that the deal signals his client is taking responsibility for the crimes.

“I know Hunter believes it is important to take responsibility for these mistakes he made during a period of turmoil and addiction in his life,” Clark said. “He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward.”

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Step Back

The Hunter Biden charges marks the end of a five-year saga framed by Republicans as one of the biggest tarnishes to President Biden's reputation.

Hunter Biden was thrown into the spotlight during the 2019 impeachment of Donald Trump, during which Republicans led a separate investigation into Ukrainian business dealings. Biden was previously a board member of the corruption-riddled gas production company Barisma, a gig which earned him millions.

Republicans have suggested that President Biden financially benefited from his son's business dealings, but the president has denied having any connection in the matter.

Biden's behavior was further scrutinized after a laptop believed to be owned by him was discovered during the 2020 presidential election. The contents of the laptop, parts of which have been verified by multiple news outlets, revealed financial documents that detailed his multi-million dollar finances. The laptop also turned up images allegedly showing Biden engaging in drug use and in possession of a firearm.

Prosecutors later determined that Biden bought a gun at a time when he was smoking crack cocaine, as detailed in his own memoir, and that he lied on the form requiring gun owners to disclose the illegal use of drugs.

The charges against Biden come less than a week after former President Donald Trump was charged with 37 federal counts in relation to the classified documents probe.

Some Republicans have already slammed Biden's tentative agreement with federal prosecutors.

"Let’s be clear: the Department of Justice’s charges against President Biden’s son Hunter reveal a two-tiered system of justice," Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement. "Hunter Biden is getting away with a slap on the wrist when growing evidence uncovered by the House Oversight Committee reveals the Bidens engaged in a pattern of corruption, influence peddling, and possibly bribery," the statement said.

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