Hunter Biden pleads not guilty to nine federal tax charges

President’s son was indicted on nine tax-related charges months after being indicted on gun-related charges

Ariana Baio
Thursday 11 January 2024 21:44 GMT
Hunter Biden walks out of Congress hearing over contempt claim

Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, pleaded not guilty to nine tax-related federal charges during his arraignment on Thursday afternoon stemming from an indictment accusing him of failing to file or pay individual income tax between 2016 and 2019.

The charges, brought by Special Counsel David Weiss last month, consist of three felony and six misdemeanour counts including failure to pay individual income taxes, evasion of tax assessment and filing a false or fraudulent tax form.

Federal prosecutors are accusing Mr Biden, 53, of avoiding paying at least $1.4 million in federal taxes all while maintaining an “extravagant lifestyle”.

“Between 2016 and October 15, 2020, the Defendant spent this money on drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature, in short, everything but his taxes,” Mr Weiss alleged in his indictment.

Mr Biden, joined by his legal team, entered the plea to Judge Mark C Scarsi, a Trump-appointed federal judge, at the Edward R Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles.

Thursday’s arraignment is the latest legal hurdle the president’s son is facing as investigations and criticisms mount against him.

This is the second indictment Mr Weiss has brought against Mr Biden – the first being in September for gun charges in Delaware which the president’s son has pleaded not guilty to.

Both indictments stem from a failed plea deal that Mr Biden tried to reach with the Justice Department last June. Under the terms of the deal, Mr Biden agreed to plea guilty to two tax misdemeanours in exchange, prosecutors would not charge him with a gun possession violation.

But the so-called “sweetheart deal” fell apart, paving the way for Mr Weiss to bring two separate indictments forward.

Mr Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, accused Mr Weiss of succumbing to pressure from Republicans in bringing the California tax charges forward.

“First US Attorney Weiss bowed to Republican pressure to file unprecedented and unconstitutional gun charges to renege on a non-prosecution resolution.  Now, after five years of investigating with no new evidence -- and two years after Hunter paid his taxes in full — the US Attorney has piled on nine new charges when he had agreed just months ago to resolve this matter with a pair of misdemeanors,” Mr Lowell said.

On top of the federal charges, Mr Biden is facing the possibility of being held in contempt of Congress after refusing to comply with a subpoena from House Republicans seeking a closed-door deposition in their impeachment investigations of President Biden.

Rather, Mr Biden has agreed to testify publicly.

Yesterday, Mr Biden unexpectedly showed up and then walked out on a House of Representatives hearing to decide whether or not to hold him in contempt of Congress.

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