A federal grand jury charged Hunter Biden on Thursday with a scheme to evade federal taxes on millions in income from foreign businesses, the second indictment against him this year and a major new development in a case Republicans have made the cornerstone of a possible impeachment of his father, President Joe Biden.
Hunter Biden faces three counts each of evasion of a tax assessment, failure to file and pay taxes, and filing a false or fraudulent tax return, according to the 56-page indictment — a withering play-by-play of personal indulgence with potentially enormous political costs for his father.
The charges, filed in California, came five months after he appeared to be on the verge of a plea deal that would have avoided jail time and potentially granted him broad immunity from future prosecution stemming from his business dealings. But the agreement collapsed, and in September, he was indicted in Delaware on three charges stemming from his illegal purchase of a handgun in 2018, a period when he used drugs heavily and was prohibited from owning a firearm.
The tax charges have always been the more serious element of the inquiry by the special counsel, David Weiss, who began investigating the president’s son five years ago as the Donald Trump-appointed US attorney for Delaware. Weiss was retained when Biden took office in 2021.
Hunter Biden “engaged in a four-year scheme to not pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019, Weiss wrote.
“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,” he added.
If convicted, he could face a maximum of 17 years in prison. The charges, while serious, were far less explosive than ones pushed by Trump.
New York Times News Service