Hunter Biden Looks Ahead to a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad 2024

The first son will in the new year face a miserable cacophony of legal woes, public scrutiny, and political badgering.

AP/Julio Cortez, file
Hunter Biden leaves court on July 26, 2023, at Wilmington, Delaware. AP/Julio Cortez, file

As President Biden prepares for his re-election campaign beset by low poll numbers, his son, Hunter Biden, is preparing for challenges of his own — including two criminal trials, the possibility of being held in criminal contempt of Congress, and playing a starring role as the embodiment of what Republicans say is the Biden family’s “influence-peddling scheme.”

Since Republicans won control of the House of Representatives last year, Mr. Biden’s business affairs have been a central focus of the GOP’s investigation into the first family’s overseas business dealings. Republicans have followed the money to uncover reams of unflattering documents that show how Mr. Biden fils and his uncle, James, the president’s younger brother, for years traded off the Biden name to bring in millions of dollars from countries like Communist China and Ukraine.  

The investigation has also disclosed details about the younger Mr. Biden’s long, sordid history of drug and alcohol abuse, documented in detail by photos taken from a laptop computer he abandoned at a repair shop in Delaware. At one point, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene held up barely censored, obscene photos of Mr. Biden and women who were allegedly escorts during a committee hearing. 

The most pressing issue for Mr. Biden are the two indictments handed down by grand juries in Delaware and the district of central California. Special Counsel David Weiss, who previously sought to grant Mr. Biden what Republicans called a “sweetheart plea deal” before a judge objected, brought criminal charges against the first son after being appointed special counsel by Attorney General Garland. 

In Delaware, Mr. Biden is facing three felony charges related to his illegal purchase of a firearm while addicted to drugs in 2018. For those violations alone, the first son is facing up to more than a decade in federal prison and fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to an October court filing from Mr. Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, the gun charges trial will begin in February at the earliest. 

In early December, Mr. Biden was again indicted on nine additional charges related to evading more than $1 million in taxes on his overseas earnings. Mr. Weiss said in a statement that the first son “spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle rather than paying his tax bills” between 2016 and 2019. 

According to the indictment, Mr. Biden spent a total of $4.9 million on personal items and expenses between 2016 and 2019, including $1.6 million on “cash withdrawals” and nearly $700,000 on “payments” for “various women.” He also is accused of spending large amounts of money on “adult entertainment,” and of claiming tax deductions unlawfully on expenditures such as a vacation to a chateau in the south of France where, according to his addiction memoir, Mr. Biden “learned to cook crack.” 

Mr. Lowell has accused Mr. Weiss of doing Republicans’ bidding and throwing the book at the president’s son. “Based on the facts and the law, if Hunter’s last name was anything other than Biden, the charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought,” Mr. Lowell said in response to the tax charges. His client will be arraigned in California in January, meaning the trial could take place in the lead-up to next year’s election.

If convicted, Mr. Biden could serve up to 17 years in prison. Penalties for these kinds of tax and firearms offenses tend, though, to be far lower, at least for ordinary defendants.

Mr. Weiss is still investigating Mr. Biden, and could yet charge him with even more offenses, including violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act related to his work on behalf of foreign clients. The rarely enforced law was recently used to prosecute President Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort — who was later pardoned — and also to indict a Democratic power lawyer, Gregory Craig, who beat the charges at trial. Messrs. Manafort, Craig, and Biden were all doing business with Ukraine.

On top of the more than quarter century he could face in behind bars, Mr. Biden is also at risk of facing legal consequences from Congress — meaning another criminal trial and several more months in prison — after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee. 

The committee’s chairman, Congressman James Comer, has said he will move to hold Mr. Biden in contempt after the first son said he would only appear for public testimony rather than sit for an hours-long deposition, which the subpoena instructed him to do. Private settings allow lawyers to question witnesses under oath, rather than in the public committee setting that can get bogged down in speechifying by members of Congress during rapid-fire question-and-answer periods that last all of five minutes. 

Mr. Biden seems acutely aware that he is destined to play a starring role in Republican attack ads during the 2024 elections, especially following this nearly year-long investigation into his life. During a dramatic press conference on Capitol Hill where he said he would not comply with the subpoena, he said that he had for years been a victim of the “Trump attack machine.”

“I’m here today to make sure that the House committees’ illegitimate investigations of my family do not proceed on distortions, manipulated evidence, and lies,” he said, flanked by Mr. Lowell. “I’m here today to acknowledge that I have made mistakes in my life and wasted opportunities and privileges I have been afforded. For that, I am responsible. For that, I am accountable. For that, I am making amends.”

“For six years, I have been the target of the unrelenting Trump attack machine, shouting: ‘Where’s Hunter?’” he added. “Here’s my answer: I am here.” Mr. Biden was a frequent topic of conversation on the campaign trail by the former president, and even came up during the first 2020 presidential debate. 

The New York Sun

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