Hunter Biden pleads not guilty to tax charges

Hunter Biden on Thursday pleaded not guilty to federal tax charges, the latest in a series of legal challenges facing President Joe Biden's son.

Biden's arraignment Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alka Sagar marked his first court appearance in the case stemming from his nine-count indictment on the felony and misdemeanor tax charges, in which he is accused of engaging in a four-year scheme during which he didn't pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes.

According to ABC News, Hunter Biden entered the plea by himself, standing before the magistrate judge.

Along with subverting payroll taxes, the indictment brought by Special Counsel David Weiss alleges Hunter Biden "spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle rather than paying his tax bills."

The indictment spotlights Porsche payments, a Lamborghini rental, a "lavish house" in Venice Beach and, over a nearly four-year period, more than $680,000 in payments to "various women," plus nearly $189,000 on "adult entertainment."

If convicted on the tax charges, Hunter Biden faces a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison, though actual sentences are typically not that lengthy when the federal judge assigned the case takes into account U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other legal factors, according to the Department of Justice.

According to Hunter Biden's new criminal court docket, U.S. District Judge Mark C. Scarsi is handling his case. Scarsi took his seat in 2020, a Donald Trump-appointee in the country's most populous federal district spanning the Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Lois Obispo, Ventura and Orange county areas.t

Thursday's court date marked the second time in less than a year that the president's 53-year-old son was arraigned on federal charges.

Hunter Biden was separately indicted on three federal gun counts last September. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges in that indictment accuses him of knowingly possessing a Colt Cobra revolver in October 2018 while “knowing he was an unlawful user of and addicted to” controlled substances. 

Prosecutors allege Hunter Biden knowingly made a false statement on a form used in the purchase of the gun, certifying that he was not an unlawful user of controlled substances at the time.

Both the gun and the tax charges stem from Weiss' years-long probe into Hunter Biden, which began when Weiss was the top federal prosecutor in Delaware. Weiss was nominated to serve as U.S. Attorney for Delaware by former President Donald Trump.

Previously, Hunter Biden agreed to plead guilty to two counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax while avoiding prosecution for a single firearms charge if he met certain pre-trial conditions. However, that deal fell apart under questioning by U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika at a hearing in July. Plea agreements between parties in a criminal case do not become final until they are approved by a judge.

At the hearing in July, Noreika declined to sign off on Hunter Biden's proposed deal with prosecutors after determining that the two sides did not have a common understanding of whether it was possible Hunter Biden could face additional charges stemming from Weiss' probe.

Under the proposed plea deal, Hunter Biden would have avoided jail time for the tax offenses and entered a pretrial diversion program that would lead a gun charge being dropped.

Following the break-down of the deal, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss to serve as special counsel overseeing the continuing investigation.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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