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Hunter Biden now faces two trials this summer after judge tossed bid to dismiss tax charges

The decision paves the way for Hunter Biden to head to trial in California on 20 June – just days after his first trial on gun-related charges in Delaware

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 02 April 2024 13:58 BST
Related video: Hunter Biden walks out of Congress hearing over contempt claim

Hunter Biden is now facing two criminal trials this summer after a federal judge threw out his bid to dismiss a string of tax charges.

In a court ruling on Monday 1 April, US District Judge Mark Scarsi rejected all eight motions filed by attorneys representing President Joe Biden’s son, including the argument that special counsel David Weiss brought the charges due to pressure from the president’s Republican critics.

“Defendant provides no facts indicating that the Government undertook charging decisions in any respect because of public statements by politicians, let alone based on Defendant’s familial and political affiliations,” the judge wrote.

Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, hit out at the ruling and hinted that he could appeal it.

“We strongly disagree with the court’s decision and will continue to vigorously pursue Mr Biden’s challenges to the abnormal way the special counsel handled this investigation and charged this case,” she said.

The decision has now paved the way for Hunter Biden to head to trial in California on 20 June – just days after his first trial on gun-related charges in Delaware is slated to take place.

Mr Weiss hit Hunter Biden with nine tax-related criminal charges in December.

Prosecutors allege that Hunter Biden made millions of dollars in income between the years 2016 and 2020 and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle of “exotic cars”, “drugs, escorts and girlfriends” – all the while skipping out on more than $1.4m in taxes.

According to the indictment, Hunter “engaged in a four-year scheme to not pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019, from in or about January 2017 through in or about October 15, 2020, and to evade the assessment of taxes for tax year 2018 when he filed false returns in or about February 2020”.

Instead of paying his tax bills, the president’s son allegedly spent millions of dollars funding his “extravagant lifestyle”, including spending money on “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature”.

“In short, everything but his taxes,” the indictment states.

President Joe Biden walks with son Hunter Biden and daughter Ashley Biden as they walk to board Air Force One (AP)

The president’s son has pleaded not guilty to the charges in both cases. Separately, Hunter Biden is also awaiting trial on federal gun-related charges.

The embattled son of the president was hit with three felony gun charges in Delaware in September over a gun purchase in October 2018 when he was in the grips of drug addiction.

Prosecutors allege that Hunter Biden unlawfully possessed a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver for 11 days after he falsely claimed on a gun purchase form that he didn’t use drugs.

Under federal law, an unlawful drug user cannot legally possess a firearm.

The charges brought against Mr Biden came after he reached a plea deal with the Justice Department last year before the terms of the agreement fell apart before a judge.

Under the terms of the deal, Hunter Biden had agreed to plead guilty to two tax misdemeanours for failing to pay his taxes on time in 2017 and 2018. In exchange, prosecutors would not charge him with a gun possession violation.

But, in a dramatic moment in court, the judge refused to accept the scope of the plea deal, and the agreement – which was slammed as a “sweetheart deal” by Biden critics – fell apart.

Mr Weiss first brought the three gun-related charges in September, with the tax charges following three months later.

US District Judge Maryellen Noreika set a tentative start date of 3 June for the Delaware trial.

Hunter Biden’s attorneys have argued that the charges against the president’s son are the result of Republican pressure in a bid to damage his father’s reelection campaign.

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