DOJ says Hunter Biden's plea deal on gun charge is off the table

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Hunter Biden is back to square one when it comes to the federal felony charge he faces for being an unlawful user of drugs who possessed a firearm, with the Department of Justice declaring in a filing on Tuesday that his previous plea deal offering him pre-trial diversion on the charge is now off the table.


Interestingly, while it was U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika who first put the plea deal on hold, now-special prosecutor David Weiss (who at the time was acting as a U.S. Attorney for the DOJ) says the agreement on the pre-trial diversion for Biden was actually scuttled by the head of the federal probation office in Delaware, who “declined to approve the agreement at a hearing on July 26, 2023”; the same day that Noreika put the overall deal, including probation for tax violations, on ice because of concerns over how the deal was structured.

Because Margaret M. Bray, the Chief United States Probation Officer for the District of Delaware, never signed off on the diversion agreement it never took effect, according to Weiss. That stands to reason, but it also once again raises questions about why Weiss was willing to give such a sweetheart deal to Hunter Biden in the first place, especially when other defendants facing similar charges have been subject to years in federal prison.


In U.S. v. Daniels, for instance, a federal jury convicted Patrick Darnell Daniels of the exact same crime Hunter Biden is accused of; possessing a firearm as an unlawful user of drugs. In Daniels’ case the offending substance was marijuana, not crack cocaine. Daniels admitted to smoking about 14 times a month, unlike Hunter Biden’s written confession of smoking crack “every fifteen minutes” during the time he purchased a handgun from a Delaware gun store. Yet Daniels was sentenced to nearly four years in prison, and never received an offer to enter into pre-trial diversion beforehand.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed that decision, ruling that the federal statute in question conflicts with the Second Amendment. That may ultimately end up being a boost to Biden’s attempt to stay out of prison, but Daniels also highlights the kid-glove treatment originally given to the president’s son by Weiss and the DOJ.

And just because the original deal is now null and void doesn’t mean that Weiss is now going to vigorously prosecute the younger Biden for violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3), though if he doesn’t it will be a fantastic bit of evidence showing how Joe Biden’s anti-gun agenda comes complete with exceptions and prosecutorial discretion for a favored few. DOJ is defending the statute in multiple lawsuits around the country, but so far prosecutors have shown an unwillingness to apply the law to the president’s son. That could change now that the original deal is off the table, but so is the prospect of another sweetheart deal being tendered to Hunter Biden. Based on what we’ve seen to date, I know what I think is the more likely outcome, and I’m not holding my breath waiting for Hunter Biden to be treated like any other defendant, or even like Patrick Darnell Daniels specifically.


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