Federal Judge Maryellen Noreika in Delaware rejected a sweetheart plea deal whereby Hunter Biden agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax violations and enter a pretrial diversion program for a felony gun charge. The gun charge would be dropped if he stayed off drugs and alcohol and complied with other conditions for two years. The prosecutors also recommended that there would be no jail time for the two tax charges.
The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), an ethics watchdog group, had previously blasted the lenient plea agreement between the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, David Weiss, and Hunter Biden. NLPC called upon Judge Noreika to reject the deal.
The plea deal fell apart when the prosecutor told the court that the investigation is still ongoing, but Hunter and his attorneys thought the plea deal would give him immunity for any other crimes he may have committed. The frustrated judge gave the two sides some time to settle their differences during a break in the hearing but further problems arose regarding the gun charge.
If Hunter did not abide by the terms of his pretrial diversion program, the judge was concerned that she would be the one to decide that the prosecution of the gun charge should proceed. She made it clear that the judiciary does not have that prosecutorial power under our Constitution’s separation of powers. She gave the parties thirty days to file additional briefs on a revised plea deal.
Notably, Judge Noreika grilled Hunter during the hearing on the source of his foreign income. Hunter admitted receiving taxable income from Burisma oil company in Ukraine, where he was on the Board, and from a Chinese energy company. Yet despite the five-year investigation, no charges were brought against Hunter under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for engaging in political activities on behalf of Burisma and Chinese interests, despite overwhelming evidence that NLPC had presented to the Justice Department in 2020.
“It’s outrageous that after a five-year investigation of Hunter Biden, and the recent IRS whistleblowers’ sworn testimony of a Justice Department coverup and obstruction, the best that the prosecutor can come up with is a couple of misdemeanor charges and recommend probation as a slap on the wrist,” said Paul Kamenar, counsel for NLPC. “Thankfully, Judge Noreika rejected the plea deal as we urged, but it remains to be seen if a new deal is agreed to,” Kamenar added.
"The two-level system of justice whereby the Biden family gets a pass is rightfully perceived by the public as the politicization of the justice system,” said Peter Flaherty, Chairman of NLPC. “If the Justice Department continues to cover up for the Biden family, Congress must vigorously pursue its investigation, which appears to be leading to impeachment proceedings.”
Founded in 1991, NLPC promotes ethics in public life and government accountability through research, investigation, education, and legal action.
National Legal and Policy Center