For weeks now we’ve been lectured by the legacy media that there was nothing unseemly about the sweetheart plea deal offered to Hunter Biden that would allow him to avoid prison for falsifying tax returns and being an unlawful user of drugs in possession of a firearm, but apparently the federal judge who had to sign off on that plea deal didn’t get the message. In a federal courtroom in Delaware today, U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika said she was “concerned” about the scope of the deal, specifically when it came to the gun charge Biden is facing.
Last month, Biden was charged with possession of a firearm by a person who is a known drug user, a felony. He had a Colt Cobra .38 Special for 11 days in October 2018. He agreed to enter into a diversion agreement, which means that he would not technically plead guilty to the crime. As long as he adhered to the terms of his agreement, the case would be wiped from his record. If not, the deal would be withdrawn. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, said she was concerned about the language in the diversion agreement and suggested the lawyers get back together and discuss it.
“I think having you guys talk more makes sense,” she said.
Noreika also had some questions about the immunity offered to Biden in exchange for pleading guilty to the tax-related charges.
The president’s son was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax, as part of plea deal to avoid jail time on a felony gun charge.
But Judge Maryellen Noreika pressed federal prosecutors on the investigation and questioned whether there was the possibility for future charges.
The judge asked prosecutors if Hunter Biden was currently under active investigation. Prosecutors said he was, but would not answer specifically what the president’s son is under investigation for.
Prosecutors on Wednesday said Hunter Biden pleading guilty to the two misdemeanor tax offenses would not immunize him from future charges.
The judge asked whether a potential violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act was under consideration, but prosecutors were tight-lipped on the matter.
The judge put the court in recess and asked that federal prosecutors and Biden’s legal team discuss the plea deal, telling the court that they did not appear to be in agreement on the terms.
If Noreika has rejected one diversion agreement there’s no guarantee that she’ll accept another, but today’s news doesn’t mean that Biden is headed to prison anytime soon either. If the plea deal officially falls apart and terms acceptable to the judge can’t be reached, DOJ would have to either dismiss the charges outright or bring the case to trial. It’s obviously in Biden’s best interest to come to the table given that he could face several years in federal prison if he’s convicted of being an unlawful user of drugs illegally who illegally possessed a firearm, though Biden’s defense attorneys have previously hinted that they might argue the charges are bogus and conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen if prosecutors insist on proceeding to trial.
We may still get to see that stunning twist take place, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. The DOJ has a lot of negotiating room between deferred adjudication and a ten-year prison sentence, and I’d say the odds are still in Biden’s favor to avoid serious consequences for his crime. It’s good, however, to see Noreika didn’t just rubber-stamp her approval of the sweetheart deal offered by U.S. Attorney’s office that was so eagerly accepted by Biden’s defense team. I’d be in favor of getting rid of this federal statute entirely, but as long as it’s in place the president’s son shouldn’t be treated any differently than other defendants who’ve faced serious prison time for what the Justice Department alleges is a very serious crime.
From my friends and colleagues over at Twitchy, it looks like a deal on the plea deal has been struck, at least between the lawyers.
Now the Hunter plea deal is reportedly back on but he remains vulnerable to other charges like FARA. The plea deal on the tax charges is a JOKE & should not have passed muster. https://t.co/4SQHm42hly
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) July 26, 2023
So much for that supposed agreement. Hunter Biden has now entered “not guilty” pleas to both the misdemeanor tax charges as well as the felony charge for possessing a firearm as an unlawful user of drugs. This doesn’t mean that the case is still going to trial, however. Instead, DOJ attorneys and Biden’s defense team are expected to meet over the next several weeks to try to forge a deal that will be acceptable to Noreika.
The surprise development came at a hearing in federal court here at which Biden had been expected to plead guilty to two charges of failure to pay taxes under a deal he struck with the government last month. He pleaded “not guilty” to those charges instead until the two sides can meet and address the questions posed by U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika.
The parties will reconvene at a future date, which could be within the next six weeks.
“Without me saying I’ll agree to the plea agreement, how do you plead?” Noreika asked Hunter Biden.
“Not guilty, your honor,” he responded.