Judge rejects Hunter Biden’s motions to dismiss tax case

A federal judge rejected more than a half-dozen requests from Hunter Biden’s attorneys arguing that the nine-count criminal tax case against him should be dismissed.

The ruling was issued less than a week after U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi held a three-hour hearing in his Los Angeles courtroom delving into the legal issues around the dismissal motions that Biden’s lawyers had filed.

The rejections mean that the president’s son will probably head to trial in Los Angeles unless he strikes a deal with prosecutors on the three felony and six misdemeanor tax charges. Scarsi has already scheduled the trial to start in June — right in the middle of President Biden’s reelection campaign. Hunter Biden is also scheduled to go to trial that same month in a separate federal case in Delaware on gun charges.

One of Hunter Biden’s motions to dismiss the case alleged that prosecutors’ decision to bring the charges was wrongly influenced by political pressure. Another says the top prosecutor who brought the charges — David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware — was not properly appointed as a special counsel. And another said that all the charges should not have been filed in California because Biden was not living in the state for the entirety of the allegations in the indictment.

Scarsi, who seemed skeptical of the requests at the hearing, rejected them, with a particularly biting rebuke to the motion claiming that the charges were politically motivated.

“The motion is remarkable in that it fails to include a single declaration, exhibit, or request for judicial notice,” Scarsi wrote. “Instead, Defendant cites portions of various Internet news sources, social media posts, and legal blogs. These citations, however, are not evidence.”

Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell issued a statement Monday night saying that they would continue to fight the charges.

“We strongly disagree with the Court’s decision and will continue to vigorously pursue Mr. Biden’s challenges to the abnormal way the Special Counsel handled this investigation and charged the case,” Lowell said.

Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to the charges in both the tax and gun cases, and has blamed at least some of the alleged behavior in the indictments on a drug addition that spiraled after his brother died of brain cancer in 2015.

The legal saga embroiling the president’s son has become a focal point of Republicans, who say the case shows corruption within the Biden family and at the same time accusing the Justice Department of not pursuing the cases aggressively.

Hunter Biden had nearly put much of these legal troubles behind when he reached a tentative deal with prosecutors last summer to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges. They also tentatively agreed to a separate diversion agreement that allowed Biden to admit to wrongdoing in a gun case and agree to certain conditions to avoid actually being charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.

The plea agreement publicly fell apart in front of a federal judge in Delaware.

A few months after that, Weiss charged Biden in Los Angeles with the nine tax charges — including three felony charges — in a 56-page indictment. The indictment alleges that Biden, who moved to Los Angeles around 2018, did not pay at least $1.4 million in federal taxes from 2016 through 2019. The charges include failing to file and pay taxes, tax evasion and filing false tax returns.

Biden also requested to dismiss the case because of an immunity provision in the unusually structured diversion agreement for the gun charges that collapsed. The immunity provision said Biden could not be charged for tax-related crimes for years that include 2016 to 2019.

Biden’s attorneys have argued that the diversion agreement is still in effect, pointing to the fact that both sides signed it and it did not require authorization from a judge. Prosecutors have said that it is not in effect and that a probation official had not yet put her signature on it.

Scarsi also rejected that request Monday night. He did not entirely agree with either parties’ reading of whether the diversion agreement is still in effect — but ultimately believed that the sides were not yet required to carry out their promises laid out in it.

“The Court understands that its decision rests on an interpretation of the agreement neither party advocated — that the Diversion Agreement is a binding contract but performance of its terms is not yet required,” Scarsi said.

Scarsi has scheduled a status conference in the case for May 29.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.