President Joe Biden’s troubled son Hunter will appear before a federal judge on Wednesday to plead guilty to two tax crimes and admit possessing a gun as a drug user in a “sweetheart” deal with the Justice Department that’s likely to spare him time behind bars.
U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika, who was appointed by then-President Donald Trump, will preside over the hearing and must sign off on the plea deal, in which prosecutors are recommending two years of probation. Hunter Biden is not expected to be sentenced on Wednesday.
According to a report, Hunter’s lawyer had one last “dirty trick” they allegedly played to try and block the release of damning evidence after his plea.
On Tuesday, a legal dustup arose after Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee filed court documents urging Noreika to consider testimony from IRS whistleblowers who alleged Justice Department interference in the investigation.
Shortly after their motion was filed, a court clerk received a call requesting that “sensitive grand jury, taxpayer and Social Security information” be kept under seal, according to an oral order from the judge. The clerk said the lawyer gave her name and said she worked with an attorney from the Ways and Means Committee but was in fact a lawyer with the defense team.
Noreika demanded the defense team show why she should not consider sanctioning them for “misrepresentations to the court.”
Defense attorneys responded that their lawyer had represented herself truthfully from the start and called the matter a simple misunderstanding.
Hunter’s plea deal, announced last month, comes after a yearslong Justice Department investigation into the taxes and shady foreign business dealings of the Democratic president’s second son. It allows Hunter to completely avoid prison.
Republicans were furious with the “sweetheart deal” and the Justice Department pressing ahead on investigations into Trump, the GOP’s 2024 presidential primary front-runner.
Trump is already facing a state criminal case in New York and a federal indictment in Florida. But last week, a target letter was sent to Trump from special counsel Jack Smith that suggests the former president may soon be indicted on new federal charges, this time involving his struggle to cling to power after his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.
And the most serious legal threat will likely be an expected indictment in Fulton County, Georgia. There, the Democratic District Attorney is expected to indict the 45th president by invoking Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute in early August and fast track the trial.
Republicans claim a double standard, in which the president’s son got off easy while the president’s rival has been unfairly castigated. Congressional Republicans are pursuing their own investigations into nearly every facet of Hunter Biden’s dealings, including foreign payments.
President Biden, meanwhile, has said very little publicly, except to note, “I’m very proud of my son.”
Under the terms announced last month, Hunter Biden will plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges of failure to pay more than $100,000 in taxes from over $1.5 million in income in both 2017 and 2018.
Hunter Biden also was charged with possession of a firearm by a person who is a known drug user: He had a Colt Cobra .38 Special for at least 11 days in October 2018.
According to the pre-trial agreement, he agreed to enter into a diversion agreement, which means that he won’t technically plead guilty to the crime, but if he adheres to the terms of his agreement the case will be wiped from his record. If not, the deal is withdrawn. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article