Hunter Biden lawyers say collapsed plea deal on gun charge remains valid | Hunter Biden [wafact]

Lawyers for Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden who has been under a years-long federal investigation over failing to pay taxes and, separately, illegally possessing a gun, said that part of the plea deal which unexpectedly fell apart in July remains “valid and binding”, in a Sunday court filing.

Federal prosecutors, led by US attorney David Weiss, had on Friday asked the court to cancel its request that the two sides reach a renewed agreement on the deal “since there is no longer a plea agreement or diversion agreement for the Court to consider”.

But Hunter Biden’s lawyers said the guilty pleas were “separate and independent” from the diversion agreement that is set to drop his felony gun charges after two years. They said the diversion agreement was executed at the July hearing even as the overall deal collapsed and Hunter Biden intends to abide by its terms.

The court has “acknowledged in its filings agreeing to the public disclosure of the Plea and Diversion Agreements – that the parties have a valid and binding bilateral Diversion Agreement”, Hunter Biden’s lawyers wrote in their Sunday filing, responding to prosecutors’ Friday motion.

Weiss, a Trump appointee who has been investigating Hunter Biden in a Delaware district court since 2018, has asked the court to dismiss the case so that federal prosecutors can bring additional tax charges against him outside of the state, including in California and DC, and bring the case to trial.

“After the hearing, the parties continued negotiating but reached an impasse. A trial is therefore in order,” Weiss wrote in a different Friday court filing. “And that trial cannot take place in this District because, as explained, venue does not lie here.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed Weiss special counsel to oversee the ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden. Weiss had earlier in the week asked Garland for the post, which gives him independence from the Department of Justice, a budget to pursue the investigation and the ability to bring charges in any federal jurisdiction.

“Upon considering his request, as well as the extraordinary circumstances relating to this matter, I have concluded it is in the public interest to appoint him as special counsel,” Garland said in a surprise press conference.

The plea deal fell apart after the Delaware judge assigned to the case, Maryellen Noreika, who was appointed by Trump, said she could not accept its terms. The two sides also clashed over whether Hunter Biden could face additional charges over his overseas business dealings, with his lawyers saying that he couldn’t and federal prosecutors saying he could.

In their Sunday court filing, Hunter Biden’s lawyers wrote that his understanding of immunity was “based on the express written terms of the Diversion Agreement” and sought to levy the blame for the collapsed plea deal on the federal prosecution, saying it was their decision to “renege” on the agreement.

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The ongoing investigation into the president’s son, led by Weiss, does create new challenges for Joe Biden’s re-election campaign in 2024. Republicans in the House of Representatives are also investigating the Biden family’s “domestic and overseas dealings” and whether they interfere with the president’s ability to lead impartially, as well as national security.

Yet many decried Weiss’s appointment, saying he “can’t be trusted” after negotiating a “sweetheart plea deal” that a judge rejected.

“This move by Attorney General Garland is part of the justice department’s efforts to attempt a Biden family coverup,” said the GOP-led House oversight committee chair James Comer, of Kentucky, in a statement following Garland’s announcement.

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