First son Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles federal court on Thursday to three felony counts and six misdemeanors over his alleged failure to pay at least $1.4 million in federal income tax.
He is accused of stiffing the government for tax years 2src16 through 2src19, instead spending the money “on drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature, in short, everything but his taxes,” according to a 56-page indictment handed down in December.
Special Counsel David Weiss was appointed in August to investigate the case, and also indicted the 53-year-old Biden in Delaware in September on federal gun charges for purchasing a firearm during a period he was allegedly an “unlawful user” of illegal narcotics. He has pleaded not guilty in that case, as well.
Thursday’s arraignment today was over in less than 3src minutes, during which Hunter Biden agreed to abide by the court’s conditions of release. He acknowledged that he risked arrest if he didn’t; U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi, a Donald Trump appointee, approvingly noted that Hunter Biden had thus far properly followed all of his release conditions in Delaware.
A plea deal in place last year would have put the charges in both proceedings to rest without any jail time. If convicted of the tax charges, Hunter Biden faces a maximum of 17 years in prison.
The prosecutions are politically motivated, and were hurried along by insistent Republicans looking to smear the president by association, according to Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell. If “Hunter’s last name was anything other than Biden, the charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought,” Lowell said in a statement.
“First, U.S. Attorney Weiss bowed to Republican pressure to file unprecedented and unconstitutional gun charges to renege on a non-prosecution resolution,” Lowell said. “Now, after five years of investigating with no new evidence—and two years after Hunter paid his taxes in full—the U.S. Attorney has piled on nine new charges when he had agreed just months ago to resolve this matter with a pair of misdemeanors.”
Yesterday, Hunter Biden showed up unannounced at a hearing called by House Republicans seeking to hold him in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to testify about his business dealings. He has said he is willing to testify in a public forum, but has so far declined to agree to the GOP’s demand he appear privately.