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Judge refuses to toss out tax case against Hunter Biden

A judge accused President Joe Biden's son of scheming to avoid paying $1.4 million in taxes while living an extravagant lifestyle.
Judge refuses to toss out tax case against Hunter Biden
Posted at 7:25 AM, Apr 02, 2024

A judge refused Monday to toss out a tax case against Hunter Biden, moving the case closer to the possible spectacle of a trial as his father campaigns for another term as president.

U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi denied eight motions to dismiss the indictment accusing President Joe Biden's son of scheming to avoid paying $1.4 million in taxes while living an extravagant lifestyle.

Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to the nine felony and misdemeanor tax offenses filed in Los Angeles. His attorney, Abbe Lowell, contended the prosecution is politically motivated, among other arguments, but Scarsi found he had little support for the claims.

“Defendant fails to present a reasonable inference, let alone clear evidence, of discriminatory effect and discriminatory purpose,” he wrote.

Hunter Biden's attorneys maintained that the handling of the case was abnormal. “We strongly disagree with the court’s decision and will continue to vigorously pursue Mr. Biden’s challenges," Lowell said in a statement.

The ruling comes after a three-hour hearing last week where Scarsi, an appointee of former president Donald Trump, seemed skeptical of the defense. Prosecutors, for their part, framed the claims as far-fetched.

Scarsi also dismissed claims related to the timing of the charges, leaks from IRS agents who testified before Congress, and the appointment of the special counsel overseeing the case.

Hunter Biden has also been charged in Delaware with lying on a federal form to buy a gun in 2018. He said he wasn’t using or addicted to illegal drugs, even though he has acknowledged being addicted to crack cocaine at the time. He has pleaded not guilty in that case, which also accuses him of possessing the gun illegally.

Both cases are overseen by special counsel David Weiss and now have tentative trials scheduled for June, though defense attorneys are also trying to get the Delaware gun charges tossed out.

The two sets of charges come from a yearslong federal investigation that had been expected to wrap up over the summer with a plea deal in which Hunter Biden would have gotten two years of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges. The president’s son, who has since repaid the back taxes with a loan, also would have avoided prosecution on the gun charge if he stayed out of trouble.

But the deal that could have spared Hunter Biden a criminal trial during the 2024 presidential campaign unraveled after a federal judge in Delaware began to question it.

Defense attorneys had argued that immunity provisions in the deal were signed by a prosecutor and are still in effect, but Scarsi sided with prosecutors who said it never got the required approval of a probation officer.

Hunter Biden’s original proposed plea deal with prosecutors had been pilloried as a “sweetheart deal” by Republicans, including Trump. The former president is facing his own criminal problems — dozens of charges across four cases, including that he plotted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to Joe Biden.

If convicted of the tax charges, Hunter Biden, 53, could receive a maximum of 17 years in prison.

SEE MORE: Hunter Biden provides combative testimony to House panel

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