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Hunter Biden plea hearing provides drama but no ending - USA Trending Blog

Hunter Biden plea hearing provides drama but no ending - USA Trending Blog

Hunter Biden plea hearing provides drama but no ending - USA Trending Blog

 Hunter Biden’s legal thriller continues after a federal judge refused to accept a plea deal for his tax-evasion charges because of a last-minute drama over the fine print.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika wanted more time to study a deal that began the day with a promise to cap a five-year federal investigation and ended with a cliffhanger rather than riding off into the sunset.

"It’s very unusual for a plea deal to collapse like this in front of a judge, but it’s not that unusual in these types of cases,” where concern over the ultimate sentence to be imposed may exist because a defendant could potentially be the subject of investigations in multiple jurisdictions, said Joe Valenti, a former federal counterterrorism analyst who is now a partner at Saul Ewing.

What are the charges against Biden and what are Republicans criticizing?

U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware charged Biden with two misdemeanor counts of failing to pay taxes and a gun possession violation. Biden pleaded not guilty Wednesday after the plea deal collapsed.

Prosecutors said Hunter Biden took in $2.4 million in income in 2017 and $2.1 in 2018 through Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, a Chinese-development firm, as well as domestic business interests and legal services.

Leo Wise, an assistant U.S. attorney, said an accountant prepared Biden's taxes both of those years, but his corporate and personal taxes were not paid. During this period, Hunter Biden made large cash withdrawals and covered other expenses like car payments on a Porsche, Wise said.

Biden told the court a "third party" paid the back taxes along with interest and fees pursuant to a personal loan he has not begun to repay.

Prosecutors recommended probation for the tax charges, despite each carrying a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison. The agreement over the gun charge anticipated a pretrial diversion program that would wipe the charge off Biden’s record if he complied.

House Republicans called the agreement a “sweetheart deal” for lack of jail time. But Weiss and Noreika was appointed by former President Donald Trump. The White House has denied interfering.