Los Angeles: Judge hears arguments, but no ruling in Hunter Biden tax case

Hunter Biden, left, son of President Joe Biden, arrives with attorney Abbe Lowell at the O’Neill House Office Building for a closed-door deposition in a Republican-led investigation into the Biden family, on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 28. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

By City News Service

A Los Angeles federal judge heard arguments Wednesday but made no decision in Hunter Biden’s bid for dismissal of charges in his tax case.

The president’s son did not attend the hearing in downtown Los Angeles.

Biden alleges prosecutors gave in to pressure from Republican lawmakers, who launched an impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden, after an earlier plea deal in Delaware in a different case fell through.

U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi did not indicate when he would rule on defense motions to toss the tax case. Scarsi suggested in court that he thinks the terms of the scuttled plea deal — including an immunity offer — never kicked in.

A “natural reading” of the agreement document suggested that it wasn’t fully implemented because it was missing an approval signature from the Delaware probation office, Scarsi said during the hearing.

The motion is one of several legal bids by Biden’s lawyers to throw out the tax case.

“This case follows a nearly six-year record of (the Justice Department) changing its charging decisions and upping the ante on Mr. Biden in direct response to political pressure and its own self-interests,” Hunter Biden’s lawyers wrote in legal filings.

Special counsel prosecutors responded in court by accusing the lawyers of resorting to an “attack-the-prosecutors” strategy because they don’t have the facts on their side.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers are putting forward “fact-free” arguments and “revisionist history,” prosecutor Leo Wise said.

The president’s son was charged in an indictment returned Dec. 7 in Los Angeles on nine federal tax charges for allegedly refusing to pay his taxes.

Biden, 54, of Malibu, “spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle rather than paying his tax bills,” the indictment alleges.

He entered a not guilty plea in January on the tax charges and a June 20 trial date was set. In October, the president’s son pleaded not guilty in Wilmington, Delaware, to three counts related to lying on a federal form to acquire a Colt Cobra handgun in 2018 and for being an illegal drug user in possession of the gun.

Regarding the tax charges, the 56-page indictment says that, between 2016 and Oct. 15, 2020, “the defendant spent this 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.”

Hunter Biden faces three felony counts, including tax evasion, and six misdemeanor counts of failure to pay taxes.

The Delaware case alleges that Hunter Biden broke laws against drug users having guns in 2018. In July, he had agreed to plead guilty there to two misdemeanor tax counts and acknowledge a firearms violation without a conviction, receiving no jail time. But the deal collapsed when the judge questioned its terms and refused to sign off on it.

His attorney, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement when the tax charges were announced that “based on the facts and the law, if Hunter’s last name was anything other than Biden, the (previously announced firearms) charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought.”

Lowell said, “Now, after five years of investigating with no new evidence — and two years after Hunter paid his taxes in full — the U.S. Attorney has piled on nine new charges when he had agreed just months ago to resolve this matter with a pair of misdemeanors.”

CNN contributed to this report.

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