Hunter Biden plea deal on hold after judge is unable to accept agreement

By Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 6:41 PM ET, Wed July 26, 2023
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12:23 p.m. ET, July 26, 2023

Prosecutors and defense agree to revised plea deal for Hunter Biden

From CNN's Tierney Sneed, Marshall Cohen, Kara Scannell, Holmes Lybrand

The Hunter Biden plea proceedings have restarted and the president’s son has agreed to a limited agreement that covers 2014 to 2019 and only includes conduct related to tax offenses, drug use and gun possession.

President Joe Biden's son will still plead guilty to the tax misdemeanors for 2017 and 2018, but the agreement will also cover his tax-related conduct for the three years prior.

The two sides have agreed that this deal does not shield him from potential future charges.

The proceedings are ongoing. 

12:10 p.m. ET, July 26, 2023

Court goes into second recess after Hunter Biden plea deal seems to unravel

From CNN's Tierney Sneed, Marshall Cohen, Kara Scannell, Holmes Lybrand

The judge called a second recess in the Hunter Biden plea proceedings as it appeared that the agreements the president's son had reached with prosecutors had begun to unravel. 

The judge said she had "concerns" about the parties seemingly linking the tax plea agreement to the deal on the gun charge. During the proceedings, prosecutors confirmed that the investigation into President Joe Biden's son was ongoing. 

The judge had been questioning the parties on the scope of the agreement.  

12:16 p.m. ET, July 26, 2023

CNN legal analyst: Hunter Biden plea deal falling apart today in court is "very, very rare"

CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig.
CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig. CNN

CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig called the stunning development that the Hunter Biden plea agreement appears to have fallen apart today in court "very, very rare." 

Honig said on CNN that sometimes with plea deals the sides will have a "miscommunication" of the "scope" of "what the coverage is," in terms of what the plea agreement covers moving forward.

"If Hunter Biden agrees to one, two or three misdemeanors, that's fine, but the agreement is no prison time. The bigger concern is (whether he is) covered for anything else," Honig said.

He added that to have the deal fall apart in this fashion is "really surprising" and "doesn't reflect well on either of the two parties."

Honig said that if today's proceedings end without a deal the parties "are back to the drawing board." 

"The DOJ could say, 'we don't have a deal, we're going back to our investigative work.' You might get indicted straight up or we might conclude that we don't have enough to charge here," Honing said.

  

11:49 a.m. ET, July 26, 2023

JUST IN: Hunter Biden plea deal for tax crimes in jeopardy

From CNN's Tierney Sneed, Marshall Cohen, Kara Scannell, Holmes Lybrand

President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Wednesday, July 26, 2023, in Wilmington, Delaware.
President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Wednesday, July 26, 2023, in Wilmington, Delaware. Julio Cortez/AP

There is no Hunter Biden plea deal, according to the prosecutors and the defense.

President Joe Biden's son had been expected to plead guilty to two tax misdemeanors. 

11:15 a.m. ET, July 26, 2023

Hunter Biden failed to pay between $1.1 million and $1.5 million in taxes, prosecutors say 

From CNN's Tierney Sneed, Marshall Cohen, Kara Scannell and Holmes Lybrand

Federal prosecutors gave a lengthy and detailed description of Hunter Biden's tax problems and troubled finances at Wednesday’s plea proceedings. 

Biden failed to pay between $1.1 million and $1.5 million in federal taxes before the legal deadlines, prosecutors said in court.

President Joe Biden's son earlier told the court that he intends to plead guilty to two misdemeanors for not paying federal taxes on time in 2017 and 2018. A sentencing date will likely be scheduled during the plea hearing.

11:13 a.m. ET, July 26, 2023

Hunter Biden proceedings in recess after judge asks for more details on plea deal 

From CNN's Tierney Sneed, Marshall Cohen, Kara Scannell, Holmes Lybrand

The judge is asking the parties to explain how the deals on the tax crimes and the gun charges fit together. 

She is giving them a chance to discuss the matter amongst themselves and has called for a brief recess. 

11:08 a.m. ET, July 26, 2023

Justice Department prosecutors told the court they're recommending probation for Hunter Biden 

From Tierney Sneed, Marshall Cohen and Holmes Lybrand

An officer looks on as law enforcement officers secure the area at federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, on July 26.
An officer looks on as law enforcement officers secure the area at federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, on July 26. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The Justice Department will recommend probation for Hunter Biden, prosecutors confirmed at his plea hearing.

This is part of the negotiated plea agreement. The prosecutors highlighted Biden's substantial income from Ukrainian and Chinese energy companies, and how he repeatedly missed federal tax deadlines. 

"He did, in fact, have the funds available" to pay his 2017 taxes on time — but didn't pay, prosecutors said in court. Instead, he continued to "spend wildly" on personal luxuries and expenses, they said. 

Remember: Hunter Biden said earlier in court that he intends to plead guilty to two misdemeanors for not paying federal taxes on time in 2017 and 2018. A sentencing date will likely also be scheduled during the plea hearing.

10:53 a.m. ET, July 26, 2023

Judge asks Hunter Biden about prior drug and alcohol abuse

From CNN's Tierney Sneed, Marshall Cohen and Holmes Lybrand

During the plea proceedings, the judge asked Hunter Biden about his past drug and alcohol abuse. He said he was repeatedly in and out of in-patient treatment "over the course of 20 years." 

President Joe Biden's son told the judge that he has been sober — from alcohol and drugs — since June 2019. 

10:49 a.m. ET, July 26, 2023

Court, Justice Department and Hunter Biden legal team agree judge can’t order "redo" of probe 

From CNN's Tierney Sneed, Marshall Cohen and Holmes Lybrand

During the plea proceedings for Hunter Biden, US District Judge Maryellen Noreika, Justice Department attorneys and Biden’s lawyers expressed agreement that the judge did not have the power to order the prosecutors to "redo" the probe if she thought "the investigation was lacking." 

Attorneys for the Justice Department said that would need to be addressed "through the political process."