The decade's most triggering comedy
The plea deal negotiated between Hunter Biden’s lawyers and the Department of Justice fell apart after a judge questioned the extent of immunity from prosecution that Hunter could receive from the deal.
The proposed deal would have involved Hunter pleading guilty to two tax misdemeanors and admitting the facts of a gun charge. If approved, the deal would likely have meant no jail time for the president’s son. The deal has been largely critiqued by Republicans, who say that the deal is too lenient on him and that he should be facing harsher punishment.
Federal District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika put the plea deal on hold leading Hunter to plead not guilty while the judge gives both federal prosecutors and Hunter’s lawyers time to further hash out details of a plea deal.
Hunter appeared before Noreika in Delaware on Wednesday where he was expected to plead guilty, but the deal fell apart as the judge asked Hunter’s lawyers and federal prosecutors for further details on an investigation into Hunter and what immunity he would be granted.
According to multiple reports, Noreika pressed Hunter’s lawyers and federal prosecutors on the extent of immunity being offered to Hunter in the deal, including whether it would exempt him from charges related to the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
“I think having you guys talk more makes sense,” the judge said before calling a recess for the lawyers to negotiate.
There also appeared to be disagreement between federal prosecutors and Hunter’s lawyers about whether there was still an investigation into him or not. Federal prosecutor Leo Wise said “There’s no deal” if the understanding was that the investigation was over.
After the recess, the plea deal was reportedly back on after negotiations between the two lawyers. The deal reached between the lawyers appeared to give Hunter future immunity for actions related to tax offenses, gun possession, and drug use from 2014-2019. However, the judge did not accept the deal, saying there could be constitutional issues at play.
Both parties will later return to court to make their case about why the judge should accept the deal.
Some commentators questioned the immunity aspect of the plea deal, including Republican Missouri attorney general candidate Will Scharf.
“Hunter wants to walk away from a decade of criminal activity, including potential FARA violations and other serious criminal charges, with a slap on the wrist. It’s a scandal that Biden’s DOJ was willing to agree to this kind of a deal. Fortunately, Judge Norieka isn’t playing ball,” he’s said.
Last month, Hunter’s lawyer said that the investigation was resolved following the announcement of the plea deal.
“With the announcement of two agreements between my client, Hunter Biden, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, it is my understanding that the five-year investigation into Hunter is resolved,” lawyer Chris Clark told NBC.
“Hunter will take responsibility for two instances of misdemeanor failure to file tax payments when due pursuant to a plea agreement. A firearm charge, which will be subject to a pretrial diversion agreement and will not be the subject of the plea agreement, will also be filed by the Government. 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. He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward,” Clark added.
Previous reports had indicated that Hunter Biden’s tax liability was paid for by high-powered Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris. Morris reportedly foot the bill for over $2 million of Biden’s taxes and worked with him on his art career.
This piece has been updated to reflect the latest update.