Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, attempted to plead guilty to two tax crime charges on Wednesday, but the deal collapsed in court. The initial plea agreement, which had been in place since June, fell apart over concerns about whether it would protect Biden from future prosecution related to his business dealings. Last month, prosecutors charged Biden with illegally avoiding paying taxes in 2017 and 2018, totaling around $1.2 million. Biden's lawyers stated that he would plead guilty and has since paid the IRS in full. The plea deal also included an agreement for Biden to seek treatment to have an additional gun charge dropped.
Prosecutors had been investigating other potential crimes, such as whether Biden worked as an unregistered agent for foreign governments and other business dealings involving overseas companies. Biden's attorneys claimed that the plea agreement would resolve all of the Justice Department's investigations into his conduct, but US Attorney David Weiss stated that the investigation was ongoing.
During the plea hearing, US District Judge Maryellen Noreika questioned whether the deal would grant Biden immunity from other possible crimes. The prosecutor stated that it would not, and Biden's lawyer declared the plea agreement "null and void." The revised plea agreement, which only covers tax offenses, drug use, and gun possession from 2014 to 2019, was ultimately rejected by Judge Noreika. As a result, Biden entered a not guilty plea.
Republican politicians have been critical of the plea deal, alleging a "sweetheart deal" between the Justice Department and the president's son. Some have called for further investigation into Biden's business dealings in Europe and Asia. Republican Representative Jason Smith attempted to intervene in the case by asking the judge to reject the plea deal, citing allegations of limited scope due to political influence. This intervention sparked controversy, with accusations of a law firm representing Biden pretending to be a Republican lawyer in an attempt to remove documents from the court record.
Legal experts have stated that it is unlikely for a judge to reject the plea deal, as prosecutors have discretion in determining which charges to bring. Political intervention from a different branch of government further diminishes the likelihood of a judge rejecting the deal. The investigation into Hunter Biden's conduct remains ongoing.