WILMINGTON, Del. — A plea deal reached between federal prosecutors and Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, hit a snag in court on Wednesday morning.
The younger Biden said he intended to plead guilty to two counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax after reaching a plea deal with authorities last month. Prosecutors said that as part of the deal, he would also admit to the facts of a firearm charge and enter a pretrial diversion agreement.
Hunter Biden pleads not guilty
Update 1:25 p.m. EDT July 26: The president’s son pleaded not guilty to a pair of tax charges after a federal judge declined to accept a deal reached between Hunter Biden’s attorneys and prosecutors last month, according to The Associated Press.
The plea deal unraveled in court after U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika questioned whether the agreement would have protected him against future charges. Both sides came together to hammer out a new deal, which Noreika subsequently rejected, according to CNN and the AP.
Defense attorneys, prosecutors agree to revised plea deal
Update 12:30 p.m. EDT July 26: Proceedings restarted Wednesday afternoon in a federal courthouse in Delaware after prosecutors and attorneys for Hunter Biden agreed to limit a plea agreement reached earlier by both parties, CNN reported.
The president’s son will plead guilty to a pair of tax charges from 2017 and 2018 in a deal that will also include tax-related conduct from the prior three years, according to the news network. The agreement will not protect him from facing further potential charges in the future.
Attorneys attempt to find compromise
Update 12:10 p.m. EDT July 26: Prosecutors and defense attorneys worked Wednesday to salvage a plea agreement for Hunter Biden after a judge shared skepticism over the scope of the deal, The New York Times reported.
Prosecutor Leo Wise confirmed in court that an investigation into Hunter Biden remained “ongoing,” and said that if Biden’s attorneys believed otherwise, “then there is no deal,” according to the newspaper.
The court went into recess on Wednesday as both sides worked to come to an agreement, CNN reported.
Biden plea deal appears to collapse
Update 11:45 a.m. EDT July 26: The plea deal reached for Hunter Biden in connection with tax charges filed against the president’s son appeared to fall apart in court on Wednesday, CNN reported.
The deal had to be approved by a judge before it could be finalized.
Judge Maryellen Noreika questioned Wednesday whether the plea deal offered Hunter Biden “blanket immunity from prosecution for his business dealings,” before the deal appeared to collapse, The New York Times reported.
Earlier, Hunter Biden said in court that he intends to plead guilty.
Original report: The firearm charge is a felony while the tax charges are misdemeanors.
Authorities said the gun charge was related to a Colt Cobra 38 special that Hunter Biden had for 11 days in October 2018. Around that time, Hunter Biden said he was regularly abusing crack cocaine, The Washington Post reported.
“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,” Hunter Biden’s attorney, Christopher Clark, said last month in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. “He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward.”
The younger Biden has been open about his decadeslong struggle with addiction. In his 2021 memoir, “Beautiful Things,” he said that he began drinking in high school and first bought crack cocaine when he was 18 years old, NPR reported. He has been in and out of rehab over the years and credited his family for his survival.
In a statement issued last month by the White House, the president and first lady Jill Biden shared support for Hunter Biden “as he continues to rebuild his life.”