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Hunter Biden Sweetheart Plea Deal Blows Up, Judge Refuses to Sign Off

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Hunter Biden Sweetheart Plea Deal Blows Up, Judge Refuses to Sign Off

An agreement in which US President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was to plead guilty to tax charges and admit to a weapons violation has collapsed in court. Hunter Biden’s legal team been given 14 days to hash out a new deal with the prosecution

The plea agreement, reached over several weeks, was likely to spare the younger Mr Biden prison time. However, U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika ruled on Wednesday that she could not “rubber stamp the agreement.”

It comes after a five-year inquiry into the finances of the US first son, who appeared in court on Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware.

Hunter Biden then pleaded not guilty to tax and firearm charges after a judge refused to sign off with prosecutors during a court hearing.

Last month, US President Joe Biden’s son decided to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of intentional refusal to pay federal income tax. According to court records, he was accused of failing to pay income tax in excess of $1million on annual income of more than $1.5 million earned in 2017 and 2018.

He had also consented to engage into a “pretrial diversion agreement” in reference to a separate accusation accusing him of possessing a firearm while using a “controlled substance” illegally or addictedly. Defendants are often referred to community services under this type of agreement.

Hunter Biden’s Sweetheart Plea Deal

The initial plea agreement came as a relief to Hunter Biden and the president’s aides. His personal and legal problems have cast a lengthy shadow over his father’s presidency at times. He has spoken frankly about his drug addiction issues and has been the subject of many long-running investigations by the Justice Department and Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill into his overseas business transactions.

However, in an unexpected move, a Delaware judge questioned the conditions of the agreement during a hearing on Wednesday, after raising concerns about the firearm offence, according to the Associated Press. According to CNN, an ongoing investigation into alleged violations of US foreign lobbying laws also posed a threat to the pact.

According to court records, Hunter Biden eventually pleaded not guilty to the tax and weapons allegations. His attorneys and prosecutors have 30 days to convince the judge that a plea agreement is appropriate.

A lawyer representing Hunter Biden said last month that the agreements “resolved” a five-year investigation into his client. However, the Department of Justice stated at the time that the investigation was ongoing.

Neither Hunter Biden’s lawyer nor the Department of Justice replied quickly to calls for comment.

Joe Biden, who is currently abroad in France, did not join his son to the trial on Wednesday.

“Hunter Biden is a private citizen, and this was a personal matter for him,” said to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “The president and the first lady love their son and support him as he rebuilds his life.”

She stated that the case was handled independently by a prosecutor chosen by former President Donald Trump, and she forwarded all other inquiries to the Department of Justice and Hunter Biden’s legal team.

For years, the president’s relationship with his son has made him exposed to controversy and criticism from all sides of the political aisle, and the newest unexpected twist in his legal struggle threatens to hinder his father’s efforts as he prepares for re-election in 2024.

The Republican Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, said earlier this week that House Republicans were preparing to start an impeachment investigation into Joe Biden over Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings. “I believe we will follow this all the way to the end, and this is going to rise to an impeachment inquiry,” McCarthy told Fox News.

Republicans on Capitol Hill held three hearings on Hunter Biden this year, and revealed interview transcripts from two Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers who said the DoJ stalled and hindered the probe into Hunter Biden’s tax troubles.

The Biden administration has flatly denied the allegations, and David Weiss, the Trump-appointed attorney who oversaw the criminal investigation against Hunter Biden, earlier this week offered to testify at a public congressional session to address “misrepresentations.”

However, Hunter Biden’s legal problems are likely to remain central to Republicans’ political messaging, as Trump and his allies argue that there is a “two-tier” system of justice that allows the current president’s son to strike a plea deal and avoid prison, while Trump faces potential jail time for a variety of criminal charges relating to his own business dealings and mishandling of classified documents. A new grand jury inquiry investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election is also looking into the former president.

According to a Morning Consult poll done earlier this month, 46% of Republican voters believe that examining Hunter Biden’s finances should be a “top priority” for Congress.

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