(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden is appearing in a Delaware courthouse Wednesday to formally agree to the plea deal he negotiated last month with federal prosecutors, in what could bring a close to the Justice Department’s yearslong probe into the younger Biden’s business affairs.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Jul 26, 6:56 AM EDT
Republicans urge judge to block Hunter Biden plea deal
Republicans embarked on a long shot bid in the hours leading up to Hunter Biden’s expected arrival in court to press Judge Maryellen Noreika to consider denying his plea agreement until the court reviews testimony from a pair of IRS whistleblowers.
Those whistleblowers, according to an attorney for the GOP-led House Ways and Means Committee in court documents filed Tuesday, have said the younger Biden “appears to have benefitted from political interference which calls into question the propriety of the investigation.”
Experts said it would be exceedingly rare for the judge to deny a plea deal negotiated in good faith. But Theodore Kittila, the attorney for the House panel, wrote that the judge should “evaluate” the IRS whistleblowers’ remarks before ruling, claiming that “plea negotiations were tainted by improper conduct at various levels of government.”
The judge did not indicate whether she would consider Republicans’ arguments at Wednesday’s hearing.
Republican lawmakers have for weeks publicly decried Hunter Biden’s plea agreement as a “sweetheart deal” and called on the judge to either delay Wednesday’s hearing or reject it outright. Experts have told ABC News that both scenarios are unlikely.
Jul 26, 6:52 AM EDT
Judge will weigh Hunter Biden’s plea deal with DOJ
A federal judge will have the opportunity to either reject or accept the terms of the plea deal Hunter Biden struck with the Justice Department last month.
Judge Maryellen Noreika will preside over the younger Biden’s initial court appearance in the case, set to take place in a Delaware courtroom.
According to the plea agreement, Hunter Biden has agreed to acknowledge his failure to pay taxes on income he received in 2017 and 2018. In exchange, prosecutors will recommend probation, meaning he will likely avoid prison time.
He will also agree to a pretrial diversion on a separate gun charge, with the charge being dropped if he adheres to certain terms.
“I know Hunter believes it is important to take responsibility for these mistakes he made during a period of turmoil and addiction in his life,” Christopher Clark, an attorney for Hunter Biden, said in a statement last month. “He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward.”
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