Hunter Biden arrives at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base after disembarking from Air Force One with his father, U.S. President Joe Biden, in Syracuse, New York, Feb. 4, 2023.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
Hunter Biden also has agreed to enter into a so-called pretrial diversion agreement in connection with a federal felony charge of possession of a gun by a person who is a user or addict of illegal drugs, according to the filing by prosecutors in U.S. District Court in Delaware.
Typically, such agreements call for the related criminal charge to be dismissed if a defendant complies with the conditions of the deal for a set period of time.
Hunter’s initial court appearance in the case has not yet been scheduled, his defense attorney Chris Clark told CNBC.
NBC News, citing two sources familiar with Hunter’s plea deal, said that U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss agreed to recommend to a judge that the 53-year-old Malibu, California, resident receive a sentence of probation for the tax crimes.
Weiss was appointed to his post by then-President Donald Trump and was allowed to remain in that position after Joe Biden’s election to continue what has been a five-year criminal investigation of the president’s son.
Weiss has filed two charging documents, known as informations, against Hunter — one for both tax crimes, and one for the firearm charge.
Prosecutors routinely use an information to charge defendants who have agreed to plead guilty.
The information charging Hunter with two tax crimes says that in both 2017 and 2018 he had taxable income in excess of $1.5 million but failed to pay income tax for each of those years. Hunter owed the IRS more than $100,000 in taxes for each of those years, according to the filing.
The tax charges have a maximum possible sentence of 12 months in prison.
Hunter, who for years has struggled with substance abuse, in 2022 paid federal income taxes he had failed to previously pay for 2017 and 2018. That move was seen as part of an effort to limit his chances of being criminally charged in the case and to limit any possible sentence if he was charged.
The information on the gun charge says that during an 11-day period in October 2018, Hunter possessed a Colt Cobra .38-caliber revolver “despite knowing he was an unlawful user of and addicted to a controlled substance.”
The maximum possible sentence for the gun charge is 10 years in prison.
Weiss’ office in a press release detailing the agreement said, “The investigation is ongoing,” but did not elaborate.
A memorandum summarizing the terms of Hunter’s plea agreement and details of the pretrial diversion deal will be publicly filed by the time he appears in court for a plea hearing, a prosecutor in Weiss’ office wrote in a letter to the federal court clerk in Delaware.
White House spokesman Ian Sams in a statement to NBC about the plea deal by Hunter, said, “The President and First Lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life. We will have no further comment.”
The Department of Justice declined to say whether Attorney General Merrick Garland was at all involved in signing off on the charges in advance, NBC reported.
Clark, Hunter’s criminal defense lawyer, in a statement, said, “With the announcement of two agreements between my client, Hunter Biden, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, it is my understanding that the five-year investigation into Hunter is resolved.”
“Hunter will take responsibility for two instances of misdemeanor failure to file tax payments when due pursuant to a plea agreement,” Clark said.
“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,” he said.
“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. He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward.”
Trump, who was indicted earlier this month on more than three dozen federal charges related to his alleged illegal retention of classified documents after leaving the White House, blasted Hunter’s plea deal in a post on his Truth Social site.
“Wow! The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere ‘traffic ticket,'” Trump wrote.
“Our system is BROKEN!” added Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump later wrote on Truth Social: “People are going wild over the Hunter Biden Scam with the DOJ!”
Rep. James Comer, the Kentucky Republican who is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, also criticized the plea agreement, and vowed to continue his panel’s probe of Hunter’s overseas business dealings and a purported bribery scheme involving President Biden.
“Let’s be clear: the Department of Justice’s charges against President Biden’s son Hunter reveal a two-tiered system of justice,” Comer 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,” Comer said.
“These charges against Hunter Biden and sweetheart plea deal have no impact on the Oversight Committee’s investigation. We will not rest until the full extent of President Biden’s involvement in the family’s schemes are revealed.”