First Son Hunter Biden was supposed to have skated free with a plea deal designed to keep headlines clear of allegations about his reported deals with the Chinese military intelligence-linked CEFC China Energy and State HK Limited, and the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma.
Now, thanks to the decision by Federal District Judge Maryellen Noreika, the deal that would have immunized Biden from subsequent prosecutions and let him skate for firearms violation is history.
The plea agreement would have allowed Biden to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges for failing to pay taxes in 2017 and 2018. Biden agreed to a two-year diversion agreement under which he would not use alcohol, nor consume or possess any illegal drug. He would have submitted to drug testing, sought employment, and communicated any international travel plans to his federal probation officer.
The diversion agreement stated: “The United States agrees not to criminally prosecute Biden, outside of the terms of this Agreement, for any federal crimes encompassed by the attached Statement of Facts (Attachment A) and the Statement of Facts (Exhibit 1) to the Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed this same day. This Agreement does not provide any protection against prosecution for any future conduct by Biden or by any of his affiliated businesses.”
Judge Noreika gave the prosecution and Biden’s lawyers until Sept. 1 to reach a new deal.
“The sentencing hearing was a moment that made the Hindenburg disaster look like a seamless landing. Noreika asked a basic question on the implications of the agreement, and the entire deal immediately collapsed,” George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley wrote on his blog. “Now the Justice Department is in a bind. It could not admit in the hearing that Hunter Biden could escape future liability for a host of uncharged crimes. Yet, when a defendant backs out of a generous plea deal, federal prosecutors ordinarily will pursue all of the available charges — and jail time.”
Turley continued: “While President Joe Biden once declared, in more colorful terms, that no one messes with a Biden, the Justice Department may now find it has no choice. It could be forced to actually treat Hunter like an ordinary citizen.”
Turley notes that a new plea deal would require the prosecutors to either preserve the deal, or carry out a full prosecution against Hunter Biden. The dissolution of the guarantee of immunity from future charges ultimately blew up the agreement.
Noreika asked Hunter Biden if he would have pleaded guilty without the diversion agreement, to which Hunter Biden said no. Noreika objected to the immunity guarantee related to the gun charge having been extended to cover Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
Possibility of FARA Charges for Hunter Biden
Potential charges against Hunter Biden for alleged violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act for his work with CEFC Energy and Burisma proved to be a dealbreaker. Prosecutors told Judge Noreika that Hunter Biden remains under criminal investigation. The charge was used against Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who went to prison for the charge.
Hunter Biden admitted to having business relationships with CEFC Energy, whose CEO, Ye Jianming, previously served as deputy secretary general of the Chinese military intelligence-linked China Association for International Friendly Contacts, and Patrick Ho, whom he reportedly referred to in 2018 as “the “******* spy chief of China.”
The recent indictment of former business partner Gal Luft for having allegedly engaged in an illegal business arrangement with Ye and Ho does not bode well for Hunter Biden, because both men engaged in similar activities with the same people.
“A FARA charge could further expose Hunter’s alleged influence-peddling operations, with what House GOP investigators say were millions in foreign payments from a virtual rogue’s gallery of foreign officials,” Turley wrote. “That is not even including potential felony charges for the original gun violation, money laundering, or other crimes. If the Justice Department were to show the same aggressive effort toward Hunter Biden that was shown to figures like Manafort, Hunter could be looking at a real possibility of years in jail.”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.