Federal judge rejects Hunter Biden’s bid to dismiss LA tax case, paving the way for a lawsuit

By | April 2, 2024

A federal judge rejected Hunter Biden’s bid to dismiss multiple charges of tax-related violations in an 82-page ruling handed down Monday, clearing the way for the president’s son to face legal proceedings during the contentious 2024 election cycle .

U.S. District Judge Mark C. Scarsi, an appointee of then-President Trump, appeared skeptical of claims of egregious government misconduct and vindictive prosecution by Biden’s legal team during a hearing in downtown Los Angeles last week. In his ruling Monday evening, he rejected all eight of Biden’s attempts to have the case dismissed.

Biden, 54, was indicted in December on nine tax-related violations, including allegations that he failed to pay taxes on time on more than $7 million in income between 2016 and 2019 and filed false returns. Prosecutors allege Biden misclassified several personal expenses as business-related in 2018, including $30,000 for his daughter’s college tuition and $11,500 for an escort, according to the indictment.

Biden paid off his debts, with penalties and interest, in 2021. But a deal to resolve some of those tax-related crimes and a firearms crime in Delaware fell apart last year after a judge raised questions about the nature of the agreement .

Last week, Biden’s legal team argued that intense political pressure from Trump and dead Republicans to damage President Biden’s re-election bid led to the deal’s collapse. That cleared the way for the convening of a grand jury in California by special counsel David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware who first began investigating the younger Biden in 2019.

Led by Abbe Lowell, lawyers for the president’s son argued that the case should be dismissed on a wide range of grounds. They argued that Weiss’ appointment was not legal, that the case was brought only under outside political pressure, and that two of the internal Revenue Services agents at the center of the investigation had violated Biden’s rights by some to publicly disclose his tax information. Lowell also argued that the plea deal Biden made last year was binding and granted him immunity.

Scarsi dismissed Lowell’s arguments about immunity, noting that the agreement was not valid because it had never been signed by a federal probation officer in Delaware. On the arguments related to Trump and Republican pressure, Scarsi said Biden “made his motion without any evidence.”

“The motion is notable in that it does not include any statement, evidence or request for judicial notice,” the judge wrote. “Instead, Defendant quotes portions of various internet news sources, social media posts, and legal blogs. However, these quotes do not constitute evidence.”

Prosecutors also said last week that Biden’s argument was a “conspiracy theory” that ignores an obvious fact: Trump is no longer president, and Biden’s father oversees the Justice Department that is now prosecuting him.

“We strongly disagree with the Court’s decision and will continue to vigorously challenge Mr. Biden’s criticism of the anomalous manner in which the Special Counsel handled this investigation and charged this case,” Lowell said Monday evening. a statement.

Lowell also argued that IRS agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler trampled on Biden’s due process rights by giving news interviews about the case and releasing confidential tax documents to the public. But Scarsi said Lowell failed to draw a line between their behavior and the charges in Los Angeles.

“Defendant does not accuse Shapley and Ziegler of misconduct during the process of building the case against him or any active cooperation between them and the prosecutor; instead, he argues that their public disclosure of information about the investigation could have influenced the special counsel’s decision to pursue the tax assessments,” Scarsi wrote. the grand jury’s decision to indict.”

Biden is tentatively set to stand trial on June 20, potentially adding to the list of court dates that infringe on the 2024 election cycle. Trump faces four separate prosecutions in multiple jurisdictions for allegedly falsifying corporate records, failing to return classified documents to the White House and attempting to interfere with the outcome of the 2020 election which he has repeatedly claimed was rigged, without providing evidence.

It remains unclear whether any of these cases will reach a jury before voters cast their ballots later this year.

Times staff writer Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.

Sign up for Essential California to get news, features, recommendations from the LA Times and more delivered to your inbox six days a week.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *