As published on: rollcall.com, Tuesday 20 June, 2023.
President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden has agreed to plead guilty to two charges of misdemeanor tax evasion and enter a pretrial diversion agreement on a firearm possession charge, the Justice Department said in court filings Tuesday.
The charges, which come as the president runs for reelection and some Republicans claim political bias at the Justice Department, allege that Hunter Biden avoided paying more than $100,000 in federal income tax in both 2017 and 2018, and possessed a gun while using illegal drugs in 2018.
While living in the District of Columbia, Hunter Biden earned more than $1.5 million in income those two years and did not pay the taxes he owed, the court filings said. The two tax charges carry a maximum of one year in prison as well as a $25,000 fine.
A pretrial diversion agreement on the third charge, a felony for possession of a firearm while using illegal drugs, means Hunter Biden could complete a program to potentially avoid the traditional criminal justice system for that charge.
The DOJ has requested a court date for Hunter Biden’s initial appearance on the charges.
In a statement, Hunter Biden’s attorney Chris Clark said the agreement would end a five-year probe into his client’s conduct and include payment of back taxes.
“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,” Clark said.
Joe Biden has previously defended his son and said he did nothing wrong. Ian Sams, a White House spokesman, issued a brief statement after the DOJ filed the court documents.
“The President and First Lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life. We will have no further comment,” Sams said.
Republicans have spotlighted the long-running criminal investigation into Hunter as evidence of a two-tiered justice system that treated Democrats differently — particularly in light of the federal indictment of former President Donald Trump earlier this month.
House Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., in a statement Tuesday called the charges “a slap on the wrist.”
As part of an investigation, Comer has claimed that members of the Biden family have engaged in influence peddling and received payments from companies based in foreign countries.
“These charges against Hunter Biden and sweetheart plea deal have no impact on the Oversight Committee’s investigation,” Comer said. “We will not rest until the full extent of President Biden’s involvement in the family’s schemes are revealed.”
Trump himself has repeatedly pointed to the investigation into Hunter Biden as evidence that the DOJ was favoring Democrats.
On his social media platform Tuesday, Trump called the charges a “scam” and contrasted it with the federal case against him for mishandling classified documents.
“Wow! The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere ‘traffic ticket.’ Our system is BROKEN!” Trump wrote.
The Biden administration placed David C. Weiss, appointed by Trump as the U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware, in charge of the probe into Hunter Biden.