Prosecutors say Hunter Biden’s gun and tax deal is no longer valid

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, arrives at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Tuesday, July 4, 2023, in Washington.

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Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that the pretrial diversion agreement they offered to Hunter Biden on a felony gun charge was not valid, despite arguments from lawyers for President Joe Biden’s son.

Special counsel David Weiss also accused Hunter’s defense attorneys of “inaccurately” characterizing the breakdown of renewed plea talks that collapsed last week after a judge raised questions about Weiss’ proposed deals.

On Tuesday, one of Hunter’s attorneys asked the judge in the case to withdraw from the case, citing the possibility that he would be a witness in failed plea negotiations.

Weiss initially said he would not recommend prison time for Hunter if he pleads guilty on July 26 to two counts of federal income tax evasion.

The prosecutor was also willing to allow Hunter to avoid conviction and drop the felony firearm charge if he followed the terms of the deal for two years.

“The government did not opt ​​out of the ‘pre-negotiated Plea Agreement,'” Weiss said in a new filing in U.S. District Court in Delaware.

“The defendant chose not to plead guilty at a hearing on July 26, 2023, and US Probation declined to approve the diversion agreement offered at that hearing,” wrote Weiss, who is the U.S. attorney for the state of Delaware.

“Thus, both proposed agreements have not entered into force.”

Weiss wrote that after the hearing, both sides offered each other deals to address the judge’s concerns.

“Without getting into the substance of the negotiations between the parties, on the afternoon of the July 26 hearing, defense counsel requested a meeting with the government,” Weiss wrote.

He said that after Hunter’s lawyers proposed changes to the plea deal, prosecutors “did not believe they were in the best interest of the United States and made counter-offers.”

The prosecutor writes that on August 7, Hunter’s lawyers, in turn, rejected this offer.

“Seeing that the parties were at an impasse, the Government notified the Respondent in writing on August 9, 2023 that it was withdrawing the most recent version of its proposed plea and diversion agreements,” Weiss said in her filing.

A separate motion to withdraw Tuesday by Hunter’s attorney, Chris Clark, came a day after attorney Abbe Lowell entered an appearance to represent Hunter in the case.

And it comes after Hunter’s legal team filed a lawsuit alleging federal prosecutors reneged on a plea deal they had offered.

Hunter Biden’s attorney Chris Clark speaking on MSNBC.


Clark’s request to withdraw was based on the chance — now confirmed by Weiss’s filing — that prosecutors will now oppose the plea deal and any other offers related to tax crimes.

In a filing over the weekend, Hunter’s attorneys wrote that the severance agreement is “valid and binding.” The judge in the case then asked Weiss to respond to that petition.

Clark said in his resignation letter that his departure was “necessitated by recent developments in the matter.”

According to Delaware Rule of Professional Conduct § 3.7(a), ‘a lawyer shall not act as counsel in legal proceedings.
presumption that counsel is a necessary witness … disqualification of counsel
Working on a client with serious challenges,” Clark wrote.

“It appears that the negotiation and drafting of the plea agreement and the provocation agreement will be contentious, and Mr. Clark is a clear witness to these issues,” the filing said. “Under the witness-counsel rule, it is not appropriate for Mr. Clark to continue as counsel in this case.”

Clark noted that Hunter will continue to be represented by other attorneys in the case, so his withdrawal “would not pose any significant hardship to Mr. Biden.”

Hunter appeared in court on July 26, prepared to plead guilty to two counts of evading federal income tax on annual income of more than $1.5 million in 2017 and 2018.

He also expected to sign a diversion agreement on a charge of possession of a weapon while an illegal drug user and addict, which was approved by Judge Maryellen Noreika.

But that plan fell apart when Noreika questioned prosecutors about the terms of the entire plea deal and twice stipulated that he, not the Justice Department, would decide whether Hunter complied with the terms of the change to the gun charge. -year cycle.

The judge then gave prosecutors and Hunter’s attorneys time to address their questions before returning to court. The hunter pleaded not guilty to the tax charges and left the court.

But after those renewed negotiations broke down and Weiss asked Attorney General Merrick Garland last week to appoint a special counsel in the case, there are signs he may charge Hunter with other crimes.

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Garland granted Weiss’ request. A prosecutor later told the court that Hunter would be tried in California or Washington and could face other charges.

In response, Clark said at the time, “We are confident that when all of this maneuvering is over, my client will be resolved and able to move on with his life.”

Weiss’ actions last week were met with skepticism by Republicans.

Congressional Republicans, some of whom initially wanted Weiss appointed last year as special counsel on the case, now say he is sympathetic to Hunter and therefore cannot be trusted.

The criticism came despite Weiss being appointed US Attorney by Republican former President Donald Trump.

Republicans also fear that Weiss’s new special counsel status will effectively end long-running efforts by several GOP-led House parties to secure documents and testimony related to Hunter Biden’s case.

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