First son Hunter Biden has taken a plea deal with the Department of Justice. Biden had been charged with two misdemeanor tax offenses and a felony firearm offense, which could have resulted in a trial, or over one decade in prison.
Now, having taken the deal, Biden will enter a pre-trial diversion program and a period of probation.
The specifics of the Hunter Biden plea
“As part of the plea agreement,” CNN reported, “the Justice Department has agreed to recommend a sentence of probation for the two counts of failing to pay taxes in a timely matter for the years 2017 and 2018.” Hunter had owed about $100,000 in taxes for 2017, and a similar amount for 2018, but missed the IRS deadlines in both years.
“Hunter will take responsibility for two instances of misdemeanor failure to file tax payments when due pursuant to a plea agreement,” said Christopher Clark, Hunter Biden’s attorney. “A firearm charge, which will be subject to a pretrial diversion agreement and will not be the subject of the plea agreement, will also be filed by the Government. I know Hunter believes it is important to take responsibility for these mistakes he made during a period of turmoil and addiction in his life. He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward.”
White House spokesman Ian Sams said that “the President and First Lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life. We will have no further comment.”
President Joe Biden added that he was “very proud” of his son.
Conservatives, however, have been a little bit harsher in their evaluation of the deal.
Conservatives criticize the plea deal
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called the arrangement a “sweetheart deal,” which emphasized the “two tiered system in America.”
“If you are the president’s leading political opponent the DOJ tries to literally put you in jail and give you prison time. If you are the president’s son, the DOJ gives you a sweetheart deal,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy was of course referring to former President Donald Trump, who is also facing DOJ charges, and who also commented on the deal.
“Wow!” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere “traffic ticket.” Our system is BROKEN!”
Trump of course is facing 37 charges in connection with his handling of classified documents – charges that could carry significant prison time. Trump will no doubt argue that the charges are politically motivated, given that the DOJ is housed within the Executive Branch, which President Biden oversees.
Investigations will continue
The plea deal should conclude Hunter Biden’s tax ordeal (pending a judge’s approval). But that doesn’t mean the president’s son is out of the woods yet. The House Oversight Committee is still conducting its investigation into Biden’s overseas business dealings. So far the Committee has failed to turn up any substantive evidence of wrongdoing; I’m skeptical that the Committee will ever turn up any substantive evidence of wrongdoing. And while the Committee doesn’t have a shred of legal authority, the ongoing investigation can still make life unpleasant for Hunter Biden, who is a private citizen who has never been elected to public office.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.