Hunter Biden asks skeptical judge to reject tax charges he says are politically motivated

By | March 28, 2024

Lawyers for Hunter Biden asked a judge during a hearing in federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday to dismiss tax charges filed against him last year, arguing that the case is politically motivated — accusations that the apparently skeptical judge rejected. seemed to influence.

Biden claims prosecutors buckled under pressure from Republican lawmakers, who launched an impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden, after an earlier plea deal fell through.

“There is nothing regular about the way this case was initially investigated,” Biden attorney Abbe Lowell argued to U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi.

“This is the least ordinary prosecution this person can imagine,” he said as he began arguing the case for his client.

The president’s son was not present.

Hunter Biden In House Oversight (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images file)

Hunter Biden In House Oversight (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images file)

The judge heard arguments on several motions filed in recent weeks by both Biden’s legal team and the office of special counsel David Weiss, represented by chief prosecutor Leo Wise.

Weiss was present and sat in the front row of the courtroom.

The first motion focused on Biden’s claim that an agreement that was part of the initial plea talks is still in effect and should protect him from the charges filed in California.

“We relied on the good faith that Biden would plead guilty,” Wise told the judge, adding that the agreement Biden is trying to stick to “was not finalized.”

Lowell insisted that was the case and said his client had complied with the terms.

The judge seemed skeptical — and critical — of some of Biden’s arguments, especially Lowell’s claim that the case should be dismissed on the grounds that Biden was the victim of selective targeting by prosecutors. The motion states that the prosecution of more serious charges was filed after complaints from Republicans in the House of Representatives that Biden received special treatment.

“There is truly no evidence” to support Biden’s motion, the judge said, other than the timing of the investigation and indictment.

Lowell did not point to any other evidence to support the claim.

“It’s a timeline, but it’s a juicy timeline,” Lowell said.

Derek Hines of the special counsel’s office was incredulous, scoffing at the idea that “when former President Trump posts ‘Where’s Hunter,’ we’re at his beck and call” and “ready to draw up an indictment.”

“It’s absolutely outrageous,” Hines said.

Scarsi said he expected to rule on the motions on April 17.

Also present at the courthouse for Wednesday’s hearing was David Chesnoff, the attorney for ex-FBI informant Alexander Smirnov. Smirnov has been accused of providing false information to the FBI about Hunter Biden and his father, something Lowell is likely to bring up.

“The same public prosecutor’s office is charging my client and the arguments put forward for dismissal could impact his case. I want to hear it for the sake of my client,” Chesnoff told NBC News.

Weiss filed nine tax-related charges — three felonies and six misdemeanors — against Hunter Biden last year in a California federal court. Weiss alleged that the president’s son failed to pay at least $1.4 million in taxes as part of a multi-year scheme to avoid federal taxes, choosing instead to “spend millions of dollars on a extravagant lifestyle,” including, according to the indictment, “drugs,” escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing and other items of a personal nature.”

The president’s son pleaded not guilty to the charges in January. His lawyers filed several motions last month asking the judge to dismiss the charges, arguing, among other things, that prosecutors had “caved to political pressure.”

“The Special Counsel has gone to great lengths to bring charges against Mr. Biden that would not have been brought against anyone else,” Lowell said in a statement when the motions were filed last month. “Prosecutors reneged on binding agreements, bowed to political pressure to file unprecedented charges, overstepped their authority, ignored the rules and allowed their agents to run amok, and repeatedly misrepresented evidence to the court to defend their conduct.”

Federal prosecutors have pushed back against Hunter Biden’s claims, arguing he came up with “a conspiracy theory” to avoid tax bills after the previous plea deal unraveled.

“The defendant concocts a conspiracy theory that the prosecutor has ‘raised the bar’ to appease politicians who have absolutely nothing to do with the prosecutor and are not even members of the current executive branch,” prosecutors wrote in a filing this month.

In addition to the tax bills, Hunter Biden was indicted in Delaware last year on federal gun charges, accused of possessing a gun while taking narcotics. The trial on the weapons charges is scheduled for June.

Hunter Biden has become a key figure in House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into the president. He testified behind closed doors to the Republican Party-led House Oversight and Judiciary committees last month, labeling the investigation a “sham” in his prepared remarks.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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