Hunter Biden will not face prosecution for his charges
Jun 21, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:20 pm
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
SALT LAKE CITY — President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was charged Tuesday with failing to file federal income tax and owning a gun as a drug user. He has now struck a deal with the Department of Justice that gives him probation for failing to file his taxes. The DOJ also said they wouldn’t prosecute him for illegally purchasing a handgun.
ABC News Legal Analyst Royal Oakes spoke with KSL at Night about these charges and what the consequences could be for the Biden family.
The gun charges
The gun charge against Hunter Biden claimed that when he was addicted to cocaine five years ago, he bought a gun illegally. When purchasing a firearm, you must first fill out a Firearms Transaction Record, or ATF Form 4473. The form contains a list of yes or no questions, one of which asks if you are an “unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”
Hunter Biden confessed to lying on this question, however, Oakes didn’t think Biden would face prosecution for this charge.
“As long as he keeps his nose clean, literally and figuratively, for the next two years, no drugs, no guns, then everything will go away,” he said. “He’ll just have probation and no jail time.”
For a charge like this, Oakes explained, you could get 10 years in jail. However, Oakes said, it’s not a shock that Hunter Biden will likely just get probation because he acknowledged that he had a problem and shouldn’t have been buying a gun.
“For the son of the President to avoid prison time on this, isn’t really too shocking,” he said.
Oakes said Hunter Biden will now be entering what’s called a pretrial diversion agreement. This deal will put the prosecution on hold as long as the defendant agrees to a list of requirements, such as probation, rehabilitation, therapy, etc.
John Huber, a former US Attorney for the District of Utah, told Dave and Dujanovic a pretrial diversion agreement to resolve a case is rare.
“It may also be a signal that you know, they’re giving special attention to a Hunter Biden because of who he is,” Huber said.
The tax charges
The tax charges against Hunter Biden are for failing to pay over $100,000 in taxes on a $1.5 million income. Willful failure to file your tax return is a misdemeanor, which could earn you one year in jail.
This is different than tax evasion or lying on your tax return, which is a felony. With a case involving this much money, Oakes noted, prosecutors could go after the defendant more aggressively, but it remains a misdemeanor.
“There’s no suggestion that he cheated on his taxes,” he said. “They’re just saying, you know, he should have filed, he should have paid his taxes. He didn’t, and so now he’s gonna have to.”
Was this a sweetheart deal?
Huber said it’s easy to jump to conclusions from outside the case, not knowing what’s in the prosecution file.
“Who else would get a multi-year in-depth investigation upon them,” he went on. “But for someone related to a high-ranking official.”
The prosecutor in this case, David Weiss, is one of the last people in the DOJ that was appointed by Former President Donald Trump. As the U.S. attorney in Delaware, Huber worked closely with him for a number of years. Huber said he’s an experienced prosecutor, he’s disciplined, and he’s also good-hearted.
“We wake up in the morning not thinking, ‘What can I do today to screw up?’ We wake up in the morning thinking, ‘What can I do to make a positive difference,'” Huber said. “That’s the kind of guy David Weiss is.”
“I think that’s the starting point of discussion,” he continued. “Is giving some presumption of regularity to a guy trying to do his best.”
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