Hunter Biden Pleads Not Guilty to Tax Charges
Hunter Biden Pleads Not Guilty to Tax Charges

By Jill McLaughlin and Zachary Stieber

LOS ANGELES—President Joe Biden’s son on Jan. 11 pleaded not guilty to nine tax charges, in an arraignment in federal court.

Hunter Biden, 53, appeared about a month after a grand jury indicted him on tax evasion and eight other counts. Court papers say Mr. Biden failed to pay at least $1.4 million in federal taxes he owed from 2016 through 2019. Mr. Biden also intentionally failed to file returns on time and included false deductions in one of them when he did file, the indictment alleges.

A portrait of President Biden was hanging in the federal courthouse in Los Angeles.

Mr. Biden, wearing a suit and black tie, sat with his hands folded and appeared relaxed as the judge read the charges against him.

He told the judge he understood the charges he’s facing and pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Biden was released on his own recognizance. Conditions of the release include registering with pre-trial probation, actively seeking employment, not using alcohol or drugs with the exception of those prescribed by a doctor, and not possessing firearms.

“There are pretty serious consequences” for failing to adhere to the conditions, U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, told the defendant.

Mr. Biden is also being required to submit all federal and state tax returns from the years in question and a financial statement to the court.

The trial is set for June 20.

Mr. Biden faces up to 17 years in prison if convicted on the tax charges.

During the years in question, Mr. Biden reported making some $7 million from work for Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian firm, and other companies, including the Chinese firm CEFC China Energy.

Mr. Biden over that same time spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on “various women,” another nearly $190,000 on adult entertainment, and about $400,000 on clothing, according to financial information obtained by special counsel David Weiss’s team, which pursued the case. In total, he spent nearly $5 million.

“The Defendant spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle at the same time he chose not to pay his taxes,” the indictment stated. “Between 2016 and October 15, 2020, the Defendant spent this 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.”

IRS investigators who worked on the case have also said that Mr. Biden violated tax laws in relation to 2014 and 2015 but that investigators let the statute of limitations for those years pass. Mr. Weiss, in an interview with members of Congress, declined to respond directly but said that details would be part of a report he submits when the probe is concluded.

A Reuters-Ipsos survey from mid-2023 found that about three-quarters of respondents said it was believable that Mr. Biden didn’t pay taxes in order to hide his income.

Abbe Lowell, one of Mr. Biden’s attorneys, has said in media interviews that his client paid back taxes and is only being prosecuted because he is part of the Biden family.

Hunter Biden’s motorcade leaves the U.S. courthouse in Los Angeles on Jan. 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
The U.S. courthouse in Los Angeles on Jan. 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Congress is also seeking an under-oath interview with Mr. Biden regarding his business deals and any involvement by his father, as part of an impeachment inquiry. Mr. Biden defied a congressional subpoena, and members moved this week to hold him in contempt of Congress.

A Harris X, Harris Poll, and Harvard survey from November 2023 found that 60 percent of respondents believe that President Biden participated in Mr. Biden’s business.

Mr. Biden’s attorneys on Jan. 10 said the congressional prosecution may present a separation of powers issue and interfere with the California case. They also said at one point there had been some “undue interference” by the government, though it was unclear what they meant.

A set of tax charges were previously lodged against Mr. Biden in Delaware in conjunction with a gun charge. Lawyers for Mr. Biden and the government reached a plea deal that would have seen Mr. Biden admit to intentionally failing to pay taxes in exchange for entering pretrial diversion for the felony firearm count.

But the deal fell apart after questioning from a federal charge. That prompted the dismissal of the tax charges. They were then brought, along with additional counts, in California, where Mr. Biden resided during the years in question.

Mr. Biden is still facing other federal charges in Delaware related to buying and possessing a gun while using illegal drugs.

Mr. Biden often appears with his father but doesn’t hold a position in the White House.

Mr. Weiss started investigating Mr. Biden in 2019. Mr. Weiss was originally appointed as a U.S. attorney by then-President Donald Trump but was asked to stay on by President Biden. Attorney General Merrick Garland, appointed by President Biden, made Mr. Weiss a special counsel in 2023.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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