Hunter Biden Gets Plea Deal on Tax, Gun Charges

Move ends federal investigation, but congressional Republicans have their own inquiries
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 20, 2023 9:05 AM CDT
Hunter Biden Gets Plea Deal on Tax, Gun Charges
Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, in a file photo from February 2023.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

President Biden’s son Hunter will plead guilty to federal tax offenses and avoid prosecution on a separate gun charge in a deal with the Justice Department that likely spares him time behind bars, per the AP. Hunter Biden, 53, will plead guilty to the misdemeanor tax offenses as part of an agreement made public Tuesday. The agreement will also spare him prosecution on a charge of illegally possessing a firearm as a drug user, as long as he adheres to conditions set by prosecutors. It's somewhat unusual to resolve a federal criminal case at the same time charges are filed in court, but it's not totally unheard of.

The deal ends a long-running Justice Department investigation into Biden’s second son, who has acknowledged struggling with addiction following the 2015 death of his brother Beau Biden. It also averts a trial that would have generated days or weeks of distracting headlines for a White House that has strenuously sought to keep its distance from the Justice Department. While it requires the younger Biden to admit guilt, the deal is narrowly focused on tax and weapons violations rather than anything broader or tied to the Democratic president. Two people familiar with the investigation said the Justice Department would recommend probation for the tax charges, meaning Hunter Biden will not face time behind bars. But the decision to go along with any deal is up to the judge.

The gun charge states that Hunter Biden possessed a handgun, a Colt Cobra 38 special, for 11 days in October 2018 despite being a drug user. The count carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison, but the Justice Department said Hunter Biden had reached a pretrial agreement. This likely means as long as he adheres to the terms of the agreement, the case will be wiped from his record. The news comes as congressional Republicans pursue their own investigations into nearly every facet of Hunter Biden’s business dealings, including examining foreign payments and other aspects of his finances. (One source of the financial scrutiny stems from the infamous laptop he left at a repair shop.)

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