Federal grand jury indicts Hunter Biden on multiple charges, including tax evasion and filing false returns

Hunter Biden

9th December 2023 – (California) Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in California on nine charges, including three felonies, related to tax evasion, false tax returns, and failure to pay federal taxes. The charges cover the period between 2016 and 2019. This development comes as separate criminal charges against Hunter Biden are pending in Delaware for illegally possessing a gun. Consequently, he may face two criminal trials next year while his father seeks reelection against former President Donald Trump, who himself faces multiple criminal cases.

The special counsel David Weiss, who has been overseeing the federal investigation into Hunter Biden, brought forth these new charges. The allegations include willful tax evasion, filing false tax returns, failure to file tax returns on time, and failure to pay federal taxes. If convicted, Hunter Biden could face a maximum prison sentence of 17 years, although sentences are typically shorter under federal guidelines.

Hunter Biden has publicly acknowledged his struggles with drug addiction, and his defence is likely to contest the willfulness aspect of the charges. The indictment, however, alleges that while battling addiction, Biden led an extravagant lifestyle, spending lavishly on items such as drugs, escorts, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other personal expenses while neglecting his tax obligations.

Responding to the indictment, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, criticized the timing and scope of the charges. Lowell stated that the U.S. Attorney had agreed to resolve the matter with two misdemeanor charges just months ago, but has now piled on nine new charges. Lowell also expressed disappointment that the response from the U.S. Attorney’s office was media leaks rather than a customary meeting to discuss the investigation.

These charges emerge in the midst of House Republicans’ efforts to link President Joe Biden to his son’s business dealings through an impeachment inquiry. However, no evidence has been produced to suggest that President Biden, during his time as president or vice president, engaged in any corrupt practices to enrich his family.

The tax case against Hunter Biden has been in progress for several years. Federal law enforcement began investigating his financial dealings in 2018. After an extensive investigation, David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware appointed by the Trump administration, contemplated bringing tax charges against Biden in California, where he resided when the alleged tax offences occurred. To proceed with the charges, Weiss needed the collaboration of a federal prosecutor in California or special authorization from the Justice Department.

Weiss initially explored the possibility of partnering with Martin Estrada, the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, but Estrada declined to “co-counsel” the case. Instead, he offered Weiss office space and administrative support. Months later, Weiss’s team negotiated a plea deal with Hunter Biden, which would have required him to plead guilty to two misdemeanour tax charges. In exchange, Biden would likely have avoided prison time for both the tax and gun charges and received protection from future criminal charges.

However, the plea deal fell apart after a federal judge pressed for more details during a hearing in July. Subsequently, in August, Attorney General Merrick Garland designated Weiss as a special counsel, granting him the authority to bring criminal charges anywhere in the country. In September, Weiss charged Hunter Biden in Delaware with possessing a gun while being a drug user and making false statements on a firearms form during the alleged purchase in 2018.