by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Leading House Republicans sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday seeking more information on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) plea and pretrial diversion agreements with Hunter Biden. The move comes after the agreements fell apart last week when a U.S. district court judge noticed they were “not standard” and “different” from what is normally presented in such scenarios.“
Given recent unusual events relating to the Department’s plea and pretrial diversion agreements with Mr. Biden, we write to better understand the Department’s decision to sign off on such apparently atypical agreements,” the letter reads.
As The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland reported, Hunter originally pled guilty to two misdemeanor tax counts and signed onto a pretrial diversion agreement with the DOJ regarding a felony firearms offense last month. While the latter charge typically “holds a maximum of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine,” the deal struck with the DOJ allowed Hunter to avoid prosecution so long as he “forsakes his drug-plagued lifestyle for 24 months and never owns a gun again.”
During last week’s Delaware court hearing on the matter, Judge Maryellen Noreika raised serious legal concerns about the pretrial diversion agreement. As noted in House Republicans’ Monday letter, Noreika specifically questioned federal prosecutors on paragraph 14 of the pretrial diversion agreement. Typically, if the Justice Department finds a defendant has violated his pretrial diversion agreement, the DOJ itself can press charges without a green light from the district court. Paragraph 14 of Hunter’s agreement, however, essentially reasons that unless Noreika discovers “the pretrial diversion agreement has been breached, ‘no criminal charges can be pursued [against Mr. Biden] for the gun charge or any other federal charge within the scope of the agreement not to be prosecuted.’”