Key Point: Why did the plea bargain between Hunter Biden and prosecutors fall apart? A pair of news stories over the weekend told the story, including the surprising detail that Hunter’s lawyers proposed putting Joe Biden on the stand.
Hunter Biden Is Making Trouble for President Dad, Joe Biden
Hunter Biden, the son of the president, was believed to have reached a deal with prosecutors that have him pleading guilty to a pair of misdemeanors, while likely avoiding jail and the possibility of a future prosecution.
However, the deal fell apart on the day it was scheduled to become official in court, and now Hunter Biden is possibly facing additional charges.
How did it happen?
Both Politico and the New York Times published long tick-tocks about the collapsed deal over the weekend- and one of them shared the surprising detail that Hunter’s then-lawyer, in 2022, once threatened that if Hunter was charged and went to trial, that the president might take the witness stand.
Per the Politico story, it happened in October of 2022, and Chris Clark, who until recently was Hunter Biden’s attorney, was responding to a report in the Washington Post that Hunter possibly faced charges for an illegal gun purchase.
Clark wrote to the U.S. attorney and warned that if Hunter Biden was charged in the gun case, President Joe Biden would take the stand.
“President Biden now unquestionably would be a fact witness for the defense in any criminal trial,” Clark wrote in the letter, which became public for the first time this weekend. It was among more than 300 pages of documents obtained by the media outlets which showed communication between the sides in the case. Clark is now no longer representing Hunter Biden.
“The documents provide a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at how the two sides came to the brink of a plea deal. But after a judge asked a few simple questions at a hearing last month about the details, it started to fray. And in the weeks after, the whole thing unraveled,” Politico said.
It’s not clear if there’s a chance of the president testifying now; the lawyer who suggested it, after all, is no longer part of the case.
That story shows that politics have been part of the case in various ways. Hunter’s attorneys, for example, had pointed out how often former President Trump, President Biden’s once and possibly future political opponent, had frequently called Hunter Biden a criminal, and that charging Hunter would be “devastating to the reputation” of the Justice Department.
It also shows that the idea of Hunter being prosecuted for anything besides taxes did not come up until some time in 2022 when the Justice Department brought up the possibility of a gun charge as well. Hunter’s lawyers also compared the potential prosecution of the president’s son to that of Michael Sussman, a former lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign who was indicted — and later acquitted — on charges that he lied to the FBI.
So why did the deal collapse? According to the Times account, Hunter Biden’s lawyers believed that prosecutors had agreed to promise not to prosecute Hunter, even under a future administration that might pursue a massive criminal probe of the Biden family. However, prosecutors could not take any such promise.
The deal, and what prosecutors were willing to accept, appeared to change after a pair of whistleblowers came forward claiming that the IRS and Justice Department had slow-walked the Biden investigation.
Then, the deal fell apart in court on July 26.
“Mr. Clark said the deal indemnified his client not merely for the tax and gun offenses uncovered during the inquiry, but for other possible offenses stemming from his lucrative consulting deals,” the Times said. “Mr. Wise said it was far narrower — and suggested the government was still considering charges against Mr. Biden under laws regulating foreign lobbying. The two sides tried to salvage it, Judge Noreika was not convinced, and Mr. Biden silently left the courthouse under a hail of shouted questions.”
Subsequent attempts after the 26th to reach a new plea deal did not result in one.
Author Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
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