Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, will plead guilty to tax crimes and unlawful possession of a weapon in a plea agreement reached with prosecutors, according to court papers filed Tuesday.
The plea deal, which must be accepted by a judge, would likely keep Hunter Biden out of jail.
Hunter Biden, 53, has been under investigation for tax matters since 2018. He reportedly paid off his tax liability in 2020, a sum that surpassed $1 million.
Hunter Biden was charged with two counts of willful failure to pay income tax. The third charge stems from possession of a firearm in 2018, a weapon Biden was in possession of while using crack cocaine. Biden denied drug use when applying to secure the gun.
On the gun charge, the president’s son will be entered into a pretrial diversion program, meaning those charges are likely to be removed from his record if he complies with the terms of the program.
“With the announcement of two agreements between my client, Hunter Biden, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, it is my understanding that the five-year investigation into Hunter is resolved,” Biden attorney Chrstopher Clark said in a statement.
“Hunter will take responsibility for two instances of misdemeanor failure to file tax payments when due pursuant to a plea agreement. A firearm charge, which will be subject to a pretrial diversion agreement and will not be the subject of the plea agreement, will also be filed by the Government,” he added.
According to The Washington Post, Biden is expected to agree to two years of probation in connection with the plea deal.
“I know Hunter believes it is important to take responsibility for these mistakes he made during a period of turmoil and addiction in his life. He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward,” Clark said.
President Biden has repeatedly defended his son from allegations of wrongdoing. The White House on Tuesday stressed support for Hunter Biden following the announcement of the plea deal.
“The President and First Lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life. We will have no further comment,” spokesperson Ian Sams said in a statement.
In an interview last October, the president noted his son acknowledged in a book that he wrote on a gun application he was not using drugs at a time when he was battling addiction.
The White House has sought to keep its distance from Hunter Biden’s ongoing legal case in an effort to avoid any implication that the president was pressuring the Justice Department, and officials have repeatedly referred questions about the case to Hunter Biden’s lawyer. Upon taking office, the Biden administration allowed U.S. Attorney David Weiss, a holdover from the Trump administration, to continue to oversee the case.
The plea deal is likely to fuel Republican efforts to keep the business dealings of the president’s family in the spotlight.
Hunter Biden’s involvement in foreign business dealings has been a source of focus for Republicans for years. Former President Trump’s suggestion in 2019 that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky investigate Hunter and Joe Biden, then his political opponent, led to his first impeachment.
Reports that broke just before the 2020 election detailing the contents of a hard drive that Hunter Biden purportedly owned, which included more details about the business dealings in addition to more salacious content, further fueled GOP interest in his business dealings and attempts to connect the now-president to them.
House Republicans have launched an investigation into the foreign business dealings of Hunter Biden and other family members of President Biden, and their associates, raising alarm about foreign funds that flowed to the first family.
Republicans have not produced evidence, though, that directly links President Biden to any of Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. The president has previously denied knowledge of those business dealings.
In the last few weeks, House Republicans have highlighted an unverified tip to the FBI that then-Vice President Biden accepted a bribe from a foreign national, but have not substantiated those claims.
Hunter Biden’s previous drug addiction also became a GOP attack line.
In 2020, former President Trump would attack Biden, at one point during a presidential debate mentioning that the president’s son was discharged from the military for cocaine use.
Then-candidate Biden defended his son.
“My son, like a lot of people… had a drug problem,” he said. “He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son.”
Trump weighed in on Hunter Biden’s case after news of the plea agreement broke, criticizing the charges as being low level.
“Wow! The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere ‘traffic ticket.’ Our system is BROKEN!” the former president wrote on Truth Social.
Trump himself was arraigned last week on 37 counts following a Department of Justice indictment alleging he violated both the Espionage Act and obstructed justice in taking classified records from his presidency and refusing to return them. He is also facing charges for concealing documents and misleading investigators.
Updated 10:13 a.m.
Alex Gangitano contributed.