On Thursday, a federal judge in Delaware formally dismissed the misdemeanor tax charges against Hunter Biden. However, it is anticipated that the president’s son will soon face either the same charges again or potentially new ones.
U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika’s decision was expected after a plea agreement between federal prosecutors and President Joe Biden’s son fell through last month. Last week, the office of Special Counsel David Weiss moved to drop the charges, citing issues related to the jurisdiction that would not have arisen if Biden had initially pleaded guilty as anticipated.
Earlier this year, Biden had agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges concerning his failure to pay income taxes. In return, prosecutors were to recommend a probationary sentence. However, the agreement collapsed due to confusion during the plea hearing about an unrelated gun charge and the judge’s inquiries into the terms.
Weiss, the main prosecutor at the time as the U.S. attorney for Delaware, has since been appointed as special counsel. “After the hearing, the parties continued negotiating but reached an impasse. A trial is therefore in order,” stated prosecutors last week.
It was suggested that Biden would likely be charged in California or Washington, D.C., indicating the government’s consideration of various tax charges in a different district, which could either mirror the current charges or differ.
In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday, Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell noted that if the special counsel pursues anything other than re-filing the same misdemeanor tax charges in an appropriate jurisdiction, people should question whether factors beyond facts or the law are influencing the process, considering the extensive investigation spanning five years.
Regarding a separate gun charge involving the alleged illegal possession of a Colt Cobra .38 Special handgun during a period of drug use, the judge has not yet made a ruling. According to the abandoned plea deal’s terms, the charge would have been dropped after two years if Biden had followed a diversion agreement with prosecutors.
Last week, Biden’s legal team maintained that the agreement, including provisions shielding him from certain potential charges, remained valid as both parties had signed it. However, prosecutors contended that the deal was not in effect since it also required approval from the probation office, which hadn’t been obtained.
During the ongoing dispute, one of Biden’s attorneys, Chris Clark, requested to withdraw from the case, citing expectations of being called a witness. Judge Noreika approved his withdrawal in a separate order issued on Thursday.