Judge Refuses To Accept Hunter Biden Plea Agreement After Chaotic Hearing: President’s Son Pleads Not Guilty and Now Could Face Prison
The presiding judge took issue with how lawyers attempted to resolve a gun charge Biden faced as well as disagreements about immunity from future prosecutions.
A Delaware judge has refused to approve a deal under which Hunter Biden would have pleaded guilty to tax evasion and avoided prison. Mr. Biden’s legal team and prosecutors must now rework their deal to resolve an issue surrounding a gun charge he faces. Also, he could still face further charges, with prosecutors confirming that Mr. Biden remains under investigation.
The presiding jurist, Judge Maryellen Noreika, declined to accept the deal after a surprisingly chaotic hearing during which the agreement fell apart entirely. The most pressing issue for Judge Noreika was the pretrial diversion program Mr. Biden would have entered, which stemmed from Mr. Biden’s illegal 2018 purchase of a firearm when he was addicted to cocaine.
Judge Noreika was also confused as to why prosecutors and the defense attorneys did not resolve the issue of whether Mr. Biden was immune from future charges. When asked, the prosecution said Mr. Biden was not granted blanket immunity for possible financial or corruption charges, while the first son’s legal team claimed he was absolved of all future liability. This led Judge Noreika to force both parties to quickly hash out the final agreement, which she ultimately did not accept.
It’s unclear why this matter of immunity hadn’t been cleared up before Wednesday’s hearing. On the same day the plea agreement was announced in June, the Delaware prosecutors had claimed the investigation into Mr. Biden was “ongoing,” which was contradicted by the first son’s legal team, which said all criminal investigations would end with this plea deal.
Judge Noreika also questioned whether Mr. Biden could be prosecuted in the future for any foreign lobbying he had done without proper registration on behalf of business entities or governments. Some of Mr. Biden’s detractors have accused him of violating the Foreign Agent Registration Act during his time working for business interests in Europe and Communist China.
He also listed for the first time the foreign companies for which he worked — a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, and an energy company tied to the Chinese Communist Party, CEFC.
During the hearing, Judge Noreika did not mention multiple legal filings from congressional Republicans as well as from the conservative Heritage Organization, which urged her to reject the plea agreement that Speaker McCarthy has called “a sweetheart deal” and an example of a two-tiered legal system that favors the privileged.
After the plea deal was not accepted, the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, addressed reporters from the West Wing podium, saying the first son is a “private citizen” and she would not comment on his legal troubles.
Republicans have made it clear they will not let up in their investigations into the first son. It was recently disclosed by the House Oversight Committee that on more than two dozen occasions, the younger Mr. Biden dialed his father into business meetings to speak with potential investors and partners. Previously, the president had denied knowing anything about his son’s business affairs, saying he had “never spoken” to his son about such things.
This appears to be the last dam to break for Mr. McCarthy, who is now saying he could open an impeachment inquiry into the elder Mr. Biden. “This is rising to the level of impeachment inquiry, which provides Congress the strongest power to get the rest of the knowledge and information needed because this president has also used something that we have not seen since Richard Nixon, used the weaponization of government to benefit his family and deny Congress the ability to have the oversight,” Mr. McCarthy told Fox News’s Sean Hannity.
At issue is whether Mr. Biden’s Department of Justice slow-walked and obstructed the investigation into his son, as has been alleged by two Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers, and why the DOJ appears not to be acting on what House lawmakers say are highly credible allegations that the president accepted a bribe from Ukrainian businessmen.
One member of the Oversight Committee, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, is also pushing for another criminal investigation of the first son following the release of materials from his infamous laptop, which she says depict Mr. Biden engaging in sexual encounters with prostitutes.
The Department of Justice “appears to have ignored its own policies by only charging Hunter Biden with two misdemeanor tax charges,” Ms. Greene wrote in a letter to the National Human Trafficking coordinator at the DOJ, Hilary Axam. “But more disturbing, the Committee is concerned DOJ disregarded the victims who were sexually exploited by Hunter Biden.” The letter was co-signed by the chairman of the Oversight Committee, Congressman James Comer.
In the coming days and weeks, Mr. Biden’s personal life and business dealings will be on full display as two key witnesses prepare for testimony before Congress.
Mr. Biden’s former friend and business associate, Devon Archer, will sit before the Oversight Committee in a closed-door meeting to detail his time working with the first son as a member of the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. It is Archer who’s expected to testify that the elder Mr. Biden joined his son’s client meetings on multiple occasions while serving as the vice president, either by telephone or in person.
Mr. Comer has said his committee will continue to investigate the Biden family, foreign business dealings, and the allegation that both the president and his son received $5 million as a bribe for aiding Burisma in breaking into the American energy market.
Recently, the Oversight Committee chairman said he and his colleagues are already considering five or six criminal referrals related to their investigation that could be sent to the DOJ, imperiling the younger Mr. Biden once again. Mr. Comer has said he expects his committee to make multiple criminal referrals to the DOJ seeking prosecutions. It will be up to the DOJ to decide whether to do so.