by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The twists and turns of Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal have been hard to follow, but it’s been clear from the outset that, like his business ventures in Ukraine, the deal was thoroughly corrupt. It’s now clear that the agreement was never meant primarily to shield Hunter from future prosecution, but to protect President Joe Biden.
In a Delaware federal court on Wednesday, Hunter’s lawyers ended up rejecting a plea deal once it became clear the deal would not confer broad immunity on the president’s son. Although the language of the plea deal has not been released, it was supposed to have Hunter plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax, as well as enter a pretrial diversion agreement for illegal possession of a firearm.
The deal fell apart, however, once the federal judge overseeing the case, Maryellen Noreika, starting asking questions. Here’s how The New York Times reported it:
“The hearing appeared to be going smoothly before Judge Noreika questioned whether the agreement meant that Mr. Biden would be immune from prosecution for other possible crimes — including violations related to representing foreign governments — in perpetuity. When a top prosecutor in the case said it would not, Chris Clark, Mr. Biden’s lead lawyer, initially hesitated and then said the government’s position would make the agreement ‘null and void.’”
After a recess during which the lawyers for both sides scrambled to hash out an agreement, Judge Noreika, who earlier had said she felt she was being asked to “rubber stamp” the agreement, said she could not accept the plea deal. Hunter Biden then pled not guilty to the tax charges and the hearing was over.
What to make of this? The most obvious explanation is that Hunter’s lawyers know what most Americans know: He was involved in complex foreign bribery schemes that implicate his father, President Biden.