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Will justice come for Hunter Biden?

The evidence builds in the case against the president’s son

Hunter Biden talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 13. Associated Press/Photo by Jose Luis Magana

Will justice come for Hunter Biden?
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It was only the vigilance of federal district court judge Maryellen Noreika that blew up the original plea deal for presidential son Hunter Biden. The judge noticed an unusual little proviso tucked in the proposed agreement that gave Hunter permanent and total immunity from any other criminal charges. The outrage over that sweetheart deal caused the David Weiss, the U.S. attorney later named special counsel, to give the whole matter a second look. Now we know at least some of what Hunter almost got away with. A new indictment in the case reveals the serious tax fraud in which Hunter was engaged—and it was worse than we ever realized.

With the arrogance of someone who believes himself untouchable, Hunter has displayed a lassitude toward tax deductions that would make a mafia don blush. Fifteen hundred dollars to fly an exotic dancer to rendezvous in New York is not a legitimate business expense. Nor is $10,000 to purchase membership in a sex club (which he labeled a golf club membership). He also put $27,000 in visits to a pornographic website on a business line of credit.

A similar attitude manifested when his ex-wife texted him to say she’d found unfiled tax returns in the trunk of his car. He responded to reassure her that they were simply copies of filed returns. She responded wryly that could not be, given that the checks were still attached to them. That same ex-wife was told on another day via text that he could not pay his alimony due her because “you know tuitions alimony taxes rent.” Only he had never paid his taxes. In sum total, he never paid at least $1.4 million in taxes owed during between 2016 and 2019; they have since been paid.

In all, Hunter now faces three felonies and six misdemeanors related to his taxes, plus the already filed gun charges related to his ownership of a firearm while addicted to cocaine. The tax counts could carry up to 17 years in prison, and even with a guilty plea it seems unlikely Hunter could avoid jailtime with charges of this magnitude.

Hunter’s headaches remain an unwelcome distraction for the White House.

These also may not be the end of Hunter’s legal troubles. There remains a very open question about whether Hunter was required to register his work for a Ukrainian energy company under the Foreign Agents Registration Act when he advocated on the company’s behalf with the Obama Administration. This is, in some sense, the big kahuna of Hunter-related charges, because it ties Hunter most closely to his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, whose office was often the one allegedly lobbied by Hunter.

Even short of that, Hunter’s headaches remain an unwelcome distraction for the White House. They create a sort of equivalence between Hunter and former President Trump in the media, even if the merits of the two sets of cases are radically different. They breathe new energy into efforts by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives to impeach the president. (Republicans voted to open an inquiry last week.) House committee chairs have also pledged to move for contempt of Congress against Hunter for defying subpoenas on his foreign dealings. The charges also present a deeply problematic question for the president: Would he pardon his own son to spare him jail time? The White House has denied the possibility previously, but what’s politically unpalatable now may feel like a moral imperative during a lame-duck December 2024.

We still lack answers to the most important questions for our politics: Did then-Vice President Biden trade on the prestige and influence of his office by directly collaborating in his son’s business dealings to enrich their family? But short of that, this most recent indictment is also a sobering reminder about the attitude of the rich and famous—that they are above the law.

Our system of law and constitutional government only work if no one is above the law. That has to start in the White House.

Daniel R. Suhr

Daniel R. Suhr is an attorney who fights for freedom in courts across America. He has worked as a senior adviser for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, as a law clerk for Judge Diane Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, and at the national headquarters of the Federalist Society. He is a member of Christ Church Mequon. He is an Eagle Scout, and he loves spending time with his wife Anna and their two sons, Will and Graham, at their home near Milwaukee.

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