Hunter Biden set to plead guilty on criminal tax charges

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, arrives at federal court to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges of willfully failing to pay income taxes in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., July 26, 2023. Jonathan Ernst | ReutersHunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, is set to appear in federal court Wednesday to enter a guilty plea on two misdemeanor counts of failing to pay his taxes.The 53-year-old Biden arrived at the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware, shortly after 9 a.m. ET for a hearing before Judge Maryellen Noreika, an appointee of former President Donald Trump.The hearing marks the first time that the Department of Justice has filed charges against the child of a sitting U.S. president. But it’s just the latest development in the controversies surrounding Hunter Biden, who has dealt with substance abuse and other issues that have provided fodder for the president’s Republican critics to investigate the first son.U.S. attorney David Weiss revealed last month that the younger Biden agreed to plead guilty to two counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax. A court document detailing the charges alleged that Biden did not pay any federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018, despite having made more than $1.5 million annually and owing more than $100,000 in federal taxes each of those years.The outstanding tax bill has already been repaid, NBC News reported, and Weiss agreed to recommend that Hunter Biden receive a sentence of probation for the tax crimes, rather than serve time behind bars.Weiss also offered Biden a pretrial diversion agreement on a separate felony charge of possessing a firearm as a user of illegal drugs, Weiss said. Biden in 2018 owned a Colt Cobra revolver “despite knowing he was an unlawful user of and addicted to a controlled substance,” court documents said.The gun charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, but the deal with prosecutors is expected to mean that Biden will avoid any jail time.A lawyer for Biden did not immediately respond to a request for comment ahead of Wednesday’s hearing. The White House did not immediately provide a comment.Republicans have balked at the pretrial diversion agreement, accusing the Justice Department of giving Biden preferential treatment because he is the president’s son. They have also raised concerns about allegations from whistleblowers that Weiss had sought authority to charge Biden with broader charges than the ones that were ultimately made public.The Justice Department has denied those allegations. Weiss has offered to testify before Congress this fall, the DOJ said in a letter Monday to House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.On the eve of the hearing, House Republicans and conservative groups attempted to file briefs urging the judge to consider rejecting the plea agreement, citing allegations from whistleblowers about potential meddling in the case. This is developing news. Please check back for updates.

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