Hunter Biden is facing nine tax charges in California, adding to the complexity of an ongoing special counsel investigation into the business dealings of the president's son. The charges, which include three felonies and six misdemeanors, are in addition to federal firearms charges in Delaware related to an alleged violation of the law against drug users possessing guns in 2018, as reported by AP.
Initially expected to plead guilty to misdemeanor tax charges in a plea deal, the agreement fell apart in July amid concerns raised by a judge and criticism from Republicans who deemed it a "sweetheart deal." Defense attorneys are now signaling their intention to contest the new charges.
The wider scrutiny extends beyond legal matters, with Congressional Republicans pursuing an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, accusing him of involvement in an influence-peddling scheme with his son. The House is set to vote on formally authorizing the inquiry next week.
While questions about the ethics of the Biden family's international business have been raised, no evidence has emerged to substantiate claims that President Biden abused his role or accepted bribes during his current or previous office.
The ongoing criminal investigation, led by Delaware US Attorney David Weiss since 2018, was expected to conclude with the scrapped plea deal. The agreement involved Hunter Biden pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax evasion charges and a separate agreement on the gun charge, avoiding jail time and serving two years of probation. However, prosecutors argue that the immunity provisions are invalid since they were not signed by a judge.
Following the breakdown of the deal, prosecutors filed federal gun charges, alleging that Hunter Biden lied about his drug use to purchase a gun in 2018. Federal law prohibits gun possession by "habitual drug users," but the charge has been questioned by a federal appeals court.
Hunter Biden's struggles with substance abuse, exacerbated by the death of his brother in 2015, were cited in a draft plea agreement. Despite substantial income in 2017 and 2018, including fees from a company formed with the CEOs of a Chinese conglomerate and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, he allegedly failed to pay taxes. While he eventually filed his taxes in 2020, back taxes were paid by a "third party" the following year, according to prosecutors.