Hunter Biden Fails to Attend Court Hearing

Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, decided not to attend a court hearing in Los Angeles on Wednesday. During the hearing, his team will present arguments in an attempt to have some or all of the tax charges against him dismissed.

The Context

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has brought tax charges against Hunter Biden, accusing him of evading at least $1.4 million in federal taxes from 2016 to 2019. Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to all of these charges.

In December 2023, the Department of Justice’s Special Counsel David Weiss brought a case against the president’s son, indicting him on nine counts. These charges include failure to file and pay taxes, false tax return, and evasion of assessment.

What to Know

Hunter Biden’s legal team has presented several arguments to support their request for the dismissal of their client’s tax charges. One of these arguments points to Weiss, a United States attorney appointed by Donald Trump, as a potential factor in the case.

According to Hunter Biden’s lawyers, Weiss has singled him out for selective targeting. In a statement made by Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, in February, it was claimed that the special counsel went to great lengths to bring charges against Mr. Biden, charges that would not have been pursued against anyone else. Lowell further accused the prosecutors of succumbing to political pressure and bringing forth unprecedented charges.

According to a filing, opponents argue that Weiss “unlawfully became Special Counsel,” stating that the funding for the special counsel’s investigation and prosecution did not receive approval from Congress.

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According to Hunter Biden’s legal team, the statute of limitations for his alleged failure to pay taxes in 2016 came to an end in April 2023. They have also raised concerns about the jurisdiction of the charges, asserting that Hunter Biden was a resident of Washington, D.C., and not California, when the alleged crimes took place.

Hunter Biden’s legal team also contended that there were redundant charges for the same tax year and that the same count encompassed multiple alleged violations.

In July 2023, a plea deal that had been in the works faced criticism. The deal involved Hunter Biden pleading guilty to two misdemeanors for the late payment of his federal taxes in 2017 and 2018. The controversial aspect was that this plea deal would allow him to avoid prosecution for a felony gun charge, specifically for illegally possessing a firearm as a drug user.

According to Hunter Biden’s lawyers, the prosecution of Hunter should not proceed because of the plea deal. However, prosecutors contend that the plea deal was never actually implemented.

The legal team also argued in a separate submission that their client’s prosecution had been negatively influenced by the “unprecedented leaks” made by IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler. These leaks came to light in December 2023 when Shapley and Ziegler testified before the House Ways and Means Committee during a House Republican impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

The legal team has requested U.S. District Court Judge Mark Scarsi, who is overseeing the case, to strike certain elements from Hunter Biden’s indictment. These elements, including “inflammatory characterizations and gratuitous facts,” aim to portray Mr. Biden as irresponsible, frivolous, and of questionable character and integrity. The legal team argues that such information could potentially confuse the jury and impede Hunter Biden from receiving a fair trial.

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Hunter Biden’s lawyer was contacted by Newsweek via email, while the DOJ was contacted through an online form, seeking their comments on the matter.

The Views

In a recent filing, Weiss strongly criticized Hunter Biden’s defense strategy, dismissing it as nothing more than a “conspiracy theory.”

Weiss responded to the accusations of being pressured by Republican lawmakers to prosecute Hunter by pointing out that the president’s son had testified to Congress, stating that the Special Counsel had undermined the impeachment inquiry conducted by House Republicans.

Weiss questioned, “Which is it?” He pointed out that the defendant lacks any evidence to back up his claims of shapeshifting. This is because the Special Counsel is dedicated to upholding the principles of fairness and impartiality in the enforcement of federal criminal laws.

House Republicans are currently investigating President Biden over allegations of his involvement in and benefitting from his son’s foreign business dealings during his tenure as vice president under Barack Obama. Despite these claims, the White House has consistently denied any wrongdoing, with the president dismissing the investigation as a groundless political maneuver.

What’s Next?

Hunter is scheduled to face trial for the tax charges on June 20. Additionally, he is confronting three federal gun charges in a Delaware indictment, all of which he has pleaded not guilty to. These charges stem from Hunter’s alleged false declaration about his drug use on a federal form while purchasing a handgun in October 2018. The trial for the gun charges is set to take place on June 3.

Update as of March 27, 2024, at 5:08 p.m. ET: This article has been revised to include supplementary information.

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