WASHINGTON – Hunter Biden will go before a judge next month to formally strike a plea agreement with prosecutors on tax and gun charges that will likely spare President Joe Biden's son time behind bars, according to court documents posted Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika must still approve the plea agreement that was reached following a lengthy federal investigation. It calls for the president's son to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of failing to pay taxes. Hunter Biden also must commit to court-imposed conditions that will spare him full prosecution on a felony gun charge.
The hearing is scheduled for July 26 as a combined initial appearance and plea agreement.
News of the plea deal Tuesday sparked criticism from Republicans who are pursuing their own congressional investigations into nearly every facet of Hunter Biden’s business dealings, including foreign payments.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, traveling in Stockholm on Wednesday, said David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware, was given “full authority to decide the matter as he decided was appropriate. And that's what he's done.”
Former President Donald Trump and other Republicans have pointed to the case to raise questions about Justice Department independence as Trump faces a historic criminal indictment. The charges against Trump were filed by a special prosecutor appointed in an effort to avoid any perception of a 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 of continue. Noreika was also appointed by Trump, in 2017.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer has said the guilty pleas are an effort to take responsibility for mistakes that he made “during a period of turmoil and addiction in his life," and his understanding is that it wraps up the five-year investigation of his client.