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20 Jun, 2023 14:15

Hunter Biden agrees guilty plea to federal charges

The deal with prosecutors will see the US president’s son avoid prison time
Hunter Biden agrees guilty plea to federal charges

US President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, will plead guilty to two federal tax misdemeanors, according to a Justice Department court filing in Delaware on Tuesday. Biden will also enter a probation agreement related to the purchase of a firearm while being a drug user. He is expected to appear in person in court for an arraignment at a future date.

The deal, which follows months of discussions between federal prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s legal team, will see him agree to probation on misdemeanor counts of failing to pay his 2017 and 2018 taxes on time. The Justice Department will also charge Biden in connection with his purchase of a handgun at a time while he was using drugs, although it has agreed not to prosecute him on the matter.

The agreement, which is subject to approval from a federal judge, is likely to be a key topic during the 2024 US presidential election. It is also set to resolve an ongoing investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Hunter Biden without him facing the risk of a federal prison sentence.

“Hunter will take responsibility for two instances of misdemeanor failure to file tax payments when due pursuant to a plea agreement,” Biden’s lawyer, Christopher Clark, said in a statement. “A firearm charge, which will be subject to a pretrial diversion agreement and will not be the subject of the plea agreement, will also be filed by the government.” 

Clark added that “Hunter believes it is important to take responsibility for these mistakes he made during a period of turmoil and addiction in his life.” 

The federal charges followed an extended investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in Hunter Biden’s business affairs by the US attorney in Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware, David Weiss, which had been ongoing since at least 2018. Weiss was appointed to pursue the case by former President Donald Trump.

Hunter Biden, who has worked as a lobbyist, lawyer, investment banker and artist, has publicly detailed his struggles with narcotics at various stages of his life. However, some Republican critics have accused him of an array of crimes linked to an alleged campaign of influence-peddling, which they say extended to his father.

Hunter Biden’s membership on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma, as well as his pursuit of deals in China, led to accusations that he had been leveraging his father’s political positions for personal gain.

“The president and first lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life,” a White House statement said on Tuesday. “We will have no further comment.”