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    Tuesday, March 05, 2024

    Hunter Biden indicted on tax evasion charges in California

    Hunter Biden walks with wife Melissa Cohen as they visit shops with President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden in Nantucket, Mass., Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

    Special counsel David Weiss has filed a second indictment against President Biden's son Hunter, this time on tax charges, as the continuing fallout from a collapsed plea deal this summer means the younger Biden could go on trial twice next year while his father runs for reelection.

    The president's son was charged with nine counts of failing to file and pay taxes, tax evasion and filing false tax returns by a grand jury in California; three are felonies and another six are misdemeanors. Prosecutors accuse Biden of failing to pay at least $1.4 million in federal taxes over a four-year period from 2016 through 2019.

    According to the 56-page indictment, Biden earned more than $7 million between 2016 and 2020 and another $1.2 million in 2020, money prosecutors allege he used to fund an "extravegant lifestyle." That money came from a person friend, they allege, who routed the money to third parties and then to the president's son who, they allege, spent it on a rent for a "lavish house" in Venice, Calif. and car payments for a Porsche. They charge that he also earned more than $140,000 in payments for his memoir, "Beautiful Things."

    The charges had been expected since the failure of the deal, which would have allowed Hunter Biden to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax crimes and admit to illegally possessing a gun - without actually pleading guilty to the gun offense.

    When that deal collapsed over a disagreement about whether it would immunize Hunter Biden from additional criminal charges, Weiss, the U.S. Attorney in Delaware overseeing the case, sought and received special counsel status from the Justice Department. That change in his status signaled there would likely be indictments in multiple jurisdictions.

    Weiss announced an indictment against Biden in mid-September on charges of illegal gun possession and making false statements on a form he filled out to buy a revolver in 2018.

    The investigation of Hunter Biden has been a focal point for Republicans since the 2020 presidential campaign, with GOP politicians including presidential frontrunner Donald Trump claiming that the younger Biden's legal troubles are evidence of criminal corruption with the Biden family.

    Republican lawmakers have accused the Justice Department of showing preferential treatment to the president's son, an allegation Attorney General Merrick Garland has strenuously denied.

    Hunter Biden's attorney and House Republicans exchanged angry statements Wednesday over whether the president's son will testify before Congress next week. A GOP committee chairman threatened to refer contempt charges against the younger Biden if he does not appear for a closed-door deposition.

    Hunter Biden's team says private testimony would let Republicans selectively leak his quotes to misrepresent his comments, while GOP lawmakers say Hunter Biden should follow the practices of their other witnesses and that he could provide open testimony at a later date.

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