A federal judge has scheduled the first court appearance for President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who faces tax and gun charges.
U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, on Wednesday issued an order (pdf) requiring Hunter Biden to appear in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, on July 26.
Noreika will be presiding over the case against Hunter Biden, who after a five-year criminal investigation was on Tuesday charged with federal crimes.
The president’s son has been charged with two counts of failure to pay income tax and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm.
He has agreed to enter a plea of guilty to the tax offenses and enter into a pretrial diversion agreement with respect to the firearm charge at the July 26 proceeding, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware.
Experts say that if Noreika accepts Hunter Biden’s plea deal at the hearing, it’s likely he will avoid prison.
Under a pretrial diversion agreement, defendants may get charges dismissed or face lighter punishment if they meet certain criteria.
Christopher Clark, a lawyer for Hunter Biden, said in a statement to media outlets that it was his understanding that the five-year investigation had now been resolved.
“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,” Clark said. “He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward.”
However, even though Hunter Biden has agreed to a plea deal, the investigation remains ongoing, according to David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware.
The Epoch Times has reached out to Weiss’ office for clarification about which aspects of the investigation remain ongoing but did not receive a reply by publication.
Details of Charges
When Hunter Biden appears in court on July 26, he is expected to formally enter a guilty plea to two counts of failing to file and pay federal income taxes on time in 2017 and 2018.
He received more than $1.5 million in taxable income in 2017 and more than $1.5 million more in 2018, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
He was legally required to pay more than $100,000 in income tax for his earnings each of those years but he “did willfully fail” to pay the tax.
Both counts are misdemeanors with a possible penalty of up to one year in prison for each.
Hunter Biden also faces a separate charge for buying a handgun illegally in 2018.
His indictment states that Hunter Biden, in 2018, “knowing that he was an unlawful user of and addicted to a controlled substance … did knowingly possess a firearm, that is, a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver with serial number RA 551363, said firearm having been shipped and transported in interstate commerce.”
The law in question forbids people convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term of more than one year or who illegally use or are addicted to a controlled substance as defined in the Controlled Substance Act from possessing firearms.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
Several news outlets have reported that Hunter Biden possessed a gun in 2018 and he said in his autobiography that he was using crack cocaine that year.
Hunter Biden’s attorney said in a statement that his client “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 added.
The White House on Tuesday issued a response Hunter Biden’s guilty plea to federal crimes.
“The President and First Lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life,” White House spokesperson Ian Sams told The Epoch Times in an email. “We will have no further comment.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) reacted to Hunter Biden’s plea deal on Tuesday morning, telling ABC News “it continues to show the two-tiered system in America.”
“If you are the president’s leading political opponent, the DOJ tries to literally put you in jail and give you prison time,” McCarthy said.
“If you are the president’s son, you get a sweetheart deal,” he added.
Former President Donald Trump said in a post on Truth Social that “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!”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a tweet that Hunter Biden received a “sweetheart deal” and managed to avoid jail thanks to his connections to the “elite DC class.”
Several 2024 presidential candidates reacted to the news.
The deal “only raises further questions” about the president’s son and a “double standard of justice” in the federal government, Nikki Haley said in a statement to CNN. “There is clearly a lot more the Biden family has to answer for.”
Asa Hutchinson said in a statement that, “the admission of guilt is an important step,” while Vivek Ramaswamy called the plea deal “a joke” and “farcical.”
“It’s no accident that the farcical Hunter Biden ‘plea deal’ comes right after the Trump indictment: it’s the perfect fig leaf to pretend that ‘no one is above the law,’ while absolutely putting certain people above the law,” he told CNN in a statement.
Democrats have been mostly silent on the charges.
The Biden campaign has declined to comment. Veteran Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter has suggested that Hunter Biden’s prosecution “is not on most Americans’ radar.”
Zachary Stieber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times