Hunter Biden faced nine tax-related charges in California on Thursday, marking a significant escalation in the special counsel's investigation into the president's son's business activities, set against the context of the upcoming 2024 election.
The latest accusations include three felony charges and six misdemeanors. These are in addition to the federal firearms charges in Delaware, where Hunter Biden is accused of violating a law that prohibits drug users from possessing guns, dating back to 2018.
Previously, it was anticipated that Hunter Biden would admit guilt to lesser tax charges as part of an agreement with prosecutors, who claimed he didn't pay taxes on $4 million of personal income in 2017 and 2018. However, his defense attorneys have indicated their intention to contest any new charges, the Toronto Star reports.
The deal collapsed in July due to a judge's concerns and criticism from Republicans who labeled it a "sweetheart deal." They have scrutinized Hunter Biden's business activities and the Justice Department's case management.
Congressional Republicans are also investigating President Joe Biden with an impeachment inquiry, alleging his involvement in an influence scheme with his son. The House plans to vote soon to officially authorize this inquiry.
Despite ethical concerns about the Biden family's international business dealings, there's no proof yet of Joe Biden misusing his current or past positions or accepting bribes.
The Delaware criminal probe, headed by U.S. Attorney David Weiss since 2018, was nearing its end with Hunter Biden's anticipated plea bargain this summer. He was set to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges of tax evasion and reach a different agreement regarding the gun charge, facing two years probation instead of imprisonment.
The deal included immunity clauses, and defense lawyers contend that these should still apply, as a prosecutor had signed off on this part of the agreement before it was ultimately abandoned.
Prosecutors have contested this, noting that the documents were not endorsed by a judge, rendering them non-binding.
Following the breakdown of the agreement, prosecutors brought three federal gun charges against Hunter Biden, accusing him of dishonestly stating his drug use to purchase a gun in 2018, which he kept for 11 days. Under federal law, habitual drug users are prohibited from owning guns, but this is rarely enforced as a separate charge and has been challenged by a federal appeals court.
In a draft plea agreement submitted in a Delaware court, prosecutors highlighted Hunter Biden's intensified substance abuse issues following his brother Beau Biden's death in 2015.
Despite these personal challenges, Hunter Biden still earned significant income in 2017 and 2018, including $2.6 million from business and consulting work with the heads of a Chinese business conglomerate and the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma. However, he failed to pay taxes on this income, as noted in the prosecutors' filing.
Hunter Biden did file his taxes in 2020, and the overdue taxes were paid by a third party in the following year, according to the prosecutors.