Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal with the Department of Justice fell through a few weeks ago, and now, one of the president’s son’s lawyers is expressing his anger over it.
This week, Abbe Lowell, who’s representing Biden in the case, placed the blame for the collapse of the deal on prosecutors from the DOJ.
His client was originally set to plead guilty to multiple tax charges and a settlement of a gun possession charge on July 26 in a Delaware court. However, at that hearing, the judge questioned the various parameters that were included in the deal, specifically whether Biden completely understood everything he was agreeing to.
Lowell said that during the hearing, DOJ prosecutors “changed their decision on the fly.” In almost all cases, plea agreements have been completely ironed out by each side before they even appear before the judge.
However, in this case, what should have been a pretty straightforward hearing took multiple twists and lasted almost two years. Eventually, Biden decided to plead not guilty so that the two sides could have additional time to try to strike a new plea deal.
In appearing on the “Face the Nation” program on CBS over the weekend, Lowell provided three reasons why the plea deal didn’t get approved. He said:
“So, the possibilities are only, one, they wrote something and weren’t clear what they meant. Two, they knew what they meant, and misstated it to counsel. Or third, they changed their view as they were standing in court in Delaware.”
Lowell echoed those comments in a court briefing that he filed Sunday, saying DOJ prosecutors decided to “renege on the previously agreed-upon Plea Agreement.” Biden’s lawyer also said that the diversion program that would’ve seen his client avoid time in jail – that had been agreed to in the original plea deal – should stay in place.
The DOJ declined to reply to Lowell’s accusations or to comment on the situation at all.
Biden’s lawyer did say that he didn’t expect the president’s son to face more charges. That includes any potential charges under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, something he said “had to” be a part of the DOJ’s investigation, which took place over five years.
As a result of that long investigation, only one diverted charge for gun possession and a few tax charges ended up being levied against Biden.
Those tax charges came from the fact that Biden didn’t pay taxes on the earnings he made from domestic and foreign business dealings.
Many legal experts were perplexed by how a plea deal could collapse like this, especially since it involved a high-profile person like Hunter Biden and a Department of Justice that’s led by his father. People questioned how the attorneys for both sides ever could’ve entered the courtroom before they were crystal clear on all the terms in the plea agreement that should’ve only needed a final stamp of approval from a judge.
University of North Carolina law professor Carissa Byrne Hessick, for instance, commented:
“It seems from the hearing transcript that there was not a meeting of the minds about what the deal was.”