Hunter Biden Pleads Not Guilty After Plea Deal Fell Apart

Conviction on tax charges could result in 17-year prison sentence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 11, 2024 4:17 PM CST
Hunter Biden Pleads Not Guilty After Plea Deal Fell Apart
News crews arrive to a federal courthouse Thursday in Los Angeles, where Hunter Biden was due to head back to court for arraignment.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

President Biden's son pleaded not guilty Thursday in a Los Angeles courtroom to federal tax charges filed after the collapse of a plea deal that could have spared him the spectacle of a criminal trial during the 2024 campaign. Hunter Biden has been accused of nine felony and misdemeanor tax offenses. The charges stem from what federal prosecutors say was a four-year scheme to skip out on paying the $1.4 million he owed to the IRS and instead use the money to fund an extravagant lifestyle that by his own admission included drugs and alcohol, the AP reports.

"We're here today because you've been accused by the United States of a criminal offense," Judge Mark Scarsi said to Biden, who entered the not guilty plea himself. Hunter Biden has also been charged in Delaware with lying on a federal form for gun purchasers when he swore he wasn't using or addicted to illegal drugs. He was addicted to crack cocaine at the time. He's also accused of possessing the gun illegally and has pleaded not guilty in that case. The accusations come from a yearslong federal investigation into Hunter Biden's tax and business dealings that had been expected to wind down over the summer with a plea deal in which he would have received two years' probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges. He also would have avoided prosecution on the gun charge if he stayed out of trouble.

The deal unraveled when a federal judge who had been expected to approve the deal instead began to question it. Now, the tax and gun cases are moving ahead as part of an unprecedented confluence of political and legal drama: As the 2024 election draws closer, the Justice Department is actively prosecuting both the president's son and Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. If convicted of the tax charges, Hunter Biden, 53, could receive a maximum of 17 years in prison, per the AP. He was told to anticipate the trial will be scheduled for June, per the Washington Post.

(More Hunter Biden stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.