Hunter Biden Pleads Not Guilty to Tax Charges After President's Son's Plea Deal Unravels
Hunter Biden had been expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges for allegedly failing to pay federal taxes, but U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika raised questions about the plea deal.
Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to federal tax charges Wednesday after the judge presiding over the case said she was not ready to accept the plea agreement he had apparently reached with the United States Justice Department.
President Joe Biden’s son arrived at federal court in Delaware in a secret service motorcade of six SUVs on Wednesday and was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges for allegedly failing to pay federal taxes on more than $1.5 million in income in 2017 and 2018. He was also expected to make an admission to a gun possession charge which would have been dismissed as part of a pre-trial diversion agreement and if he met certain conditions for two years.
But U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika deferred the decision on the plea deal. Noreika, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, expressed concern about how two separate deals, potentially intersected and her purview over them, NBC News reported. The two separate deals are regarding the alleged unpaid taxes and a gun possession charge.
“These agreements are not straightforward and they contain atypical provisions,” Noreika said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “I’m not in a position where I can decide to accept or reject a plea agreement and I need to defer it.”
Hunter Biden was unlikely to serve time in prison under the initial agreement, CBS News reported.
Hunter Biden did not enter a plea in the separate case where he is facing a felony charge of unlawfully owning a firearm while addicted to and using a controlled substance, according to Reuters.
According to CBS News, the diversion agreement was set to require Hunter Biden to abstain from drugs for two years without committing additional crimes. Upon completion, the gun charge would have been dropped without a guilty plea, the outlet reported.
Noreika said she had “concerns” about the parties’ connecting the tax plea agreement to the gun charge, CNN reported.
The terms of the agreement Biden and the Justice Department came to were struck with U.S. Attorney David Weiss of Delaware, who was also appointed by Trump and who was kept on by President Biden to oversee the case. Some Republicans have said that the Justice Department gave Hunter Biden a lenient deal. Any favoritism has been denied by the department, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"Hunter Biden is a private citizen and this was a personal matter for him," White House Press Secretary Karine Jeane-Pierre said at a press conference Wednesday. “As we have said, the president and the first lady, they love their son and will continue to support him as he rebuilds his life."
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