Hunter Biden’s tax and gun plea deal set for July court date

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden will go before a judge next month to formally reach a plea deal with prosecutors on the tax and gun charges that will likely save President Joe Biden’s son time behind bars, according to court documents released Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika has yet to approve the plea deal that was reached following a lengthy federal investigation. He asks the president’s son to plead guilty to two counts of non-payment of taxes. Hunter Biden must also agree to abide by court-ordered conditions that will spare him a full prosecution on a firearms charge.

The hearing is scheduled for July 26 as a combined initial appearance and plea agreement.

News of the plea deal on Tuesday drew criticism from Republicans who are pursuing their own congressional investigations into nearly every aspect of Hunter Biden’s business dealings, including foreign payments.

Attorney General Merrick Garland, traveling to Stockholm on Wednesday, said David Weiss, the U.S. attorney from Delaware, had been given “full authority to decide the matter as he saw fit. And that’s what he did.

Former President Donald Trump and other Republicans have highlighted the case to raise questions about the Justice Department’s independence as Trump faces a landmark criminal indictment. The charges against Trump were filed by a special prosecutor appointed to avoid any perception of political conflict.

The Hunter Biden charges, meanwhile, were filed by U.S. Attorney Weiss, who was appointed by Trump and kept on during the Biden administration to continue the investigation, some aspects are ongoing. Noreika was also nominated by Trump in 2017.

Hunter Biden’s attorney says the guilty pleas are an effort to take responsibility for the mistakes he made “during a time of turmoil and addiction in his life,” and he understands it ends his five-year investigation of his client.

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