President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, was expected to plead guilty to federal tax charges on Wednesday, but disputes over the plea deal with federal prosecutors led Biden's team to change course and plead not guilty.
Details: The judge overseeing the case was skeptical of the plea deal's scope and certain provisions included. When she pressed both sides over potential future charges against Hunter, it quickly became clear that his legal team and federal prosecutors disagreed enough to nullify their prearranged agreement.
After failing to hash out the specifics, Biden instead pleaded not guilty, which he could change at a later date should his team and prosecutors agree on a new deal.
What Happened? Two areas of concern fractured the plea deal agreement. First, Biden's team wanted the deal to shield the president's son from all future charges. Federal prosecutors rejected this, informing the judge that Biden remains under investigation in a separate case and is not immune to potential charges stemming from that.
The second fracture came directly from the judge. Biden's team negotiated a provision in the deal that gave the judge power to identify potential future breaches in the deal and bring charges. This authority typically lies with the Department of Justice, but according to The New York Times (Lean Left bias), the Biden team fears a Republican victory in 2024 could push the DOJ to go after Biden. The judge believed this provision unconstitutional since it would give her prosecutorial powers.
What's Next? Both teams have a few weeks to negotiate a new deal, most likely narrowing the previously arrangement's scope.
How the Media Covered It: Many right-rated voices, who took to labeling the agreement a "sweetheart deal" shortly after it was announced, called the collapse a vindication of their arguments and concerns about Biden family corruption. Left-rated voices had less to say in general, but again expressed suspicion that the right was unfairly targeting Hunter Biden to hurt his father's reputation.
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Snippets from the Right
"Federal Judge Maryellen Noreika didn’t reject the wrist-slap plea bargain outright, but she asked prosecutors and defense attorneys to clarify the terms of the deal on gun and tax charges. It says something that the deal collapsed under the most basic questions."
"However, the plea deal could also alleviate some criticism from Biden on behalf of Republicans and critics, who believed he was personally leaning on prosecutors and mobilizing the DOJ to take it easy on his son. Now, Hunter Biden could face the full extent of the law and receive a possibly worse sentence than he originally was provided with."
Snippets from the Center
"Vance suggested Hunter Biden's legal team will probably be able to come up with a new deal with prosecutors. She said: 'It seems likely they'll do that and find a way to work this out before they are due back in court.' Separately, Vance argued the judge expressed concern about the agreement linking Hunter's tax issues with the firearms charge, which would see the charges against him over the latter dismissed 'as though they were never filed.'"
"But during the three-hour hearing, US District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika questioned whether the deal would also provide Hunter Biden with immunity from crimes he could be found liable for in the future. She said the agreement contained "non-standard terms" and its proposed resolution for the gun possession offence was 'unusual.'"
Snippets from the Left
"Judge Noreika stunned the participants with her scouring skepticism, which led her to refuse to green-light the deal until she received 'more information' from both parties. An exhausted Mr. Biden trudged out of Federal District Court in Wilmington, Del., looking a bit stunned, as his lawyers puzzled over what to do next."
"Whether they uncovered anything about Joe, the actual elected official in the family, became almost beside the point. Hunter was—and throughout the Biden presidency, has remained—a stand-in for all the alleged moral failings Republicans couldn’t pin on his father."