The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has served up a plea deal to Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, stemming from five years of federal financial investigations.
The plea deal comes despite U.S. Attorney David Weiss’ office saying the “investigation is ongoing,” according to a press release Tuesday.
Biden, 53, was charged with two misdemeanor tax offenses and a felony firearm violation and agreed to plead guilty to the pair of tax charges and enter into a pretrial diversion agreement for the gun violation to be ruled on by a federal court judge. As part of the arrangement, the DOJ would recommend probation for the tax charges, sources told the Associated Press. Biden's attorney Chris Clark indicated that he believed the plea deal meant the years-long federal inquiry into his client had been resolved.
The news was quickly met with criticism by Republicans. Former president Donald Trump said the DOJ was handing “a mere traffic ticket” and GOP lawmakers vowed to continue their own investigations into the Biden family. Such possible inquiry could involve foreign business dealings after former Attorney General William Barr referred an FBI informant’s claims about a Ukrainian business executive taking part in a $5 million bribery scheme to Delaware for further investigation.
Meanwhile, the misdemeanor tax violations stem from Hunter Biden's failing to pay the more than $100,000 in federal income taxes he owed for 2017 by the deadline after making “in excess of” $1.5 million in that calendar year. Biden is said to have repeated the offense in 2018. Former Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris allegedly lent Biden more than $2 million to settle tax debts that were the subject of the federal investigation.
The felony firearm charge came in October 2018 when Biden was accused of having a firearm “despite knowing he was an unlawful user of and addicted to a controlled substance,” according to Weiss. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison on each of the tax charges and up to 10 years on the firearm charge.
The U.S. attorney’s investigation has also been touched by an Internal Revenue Service whistleblower who claimed the probe had been mishandled, possibly to due to political reasons. Nonetheless, the plea deal remains and still needs to be judge-approved before being finalized.