Hunter Biden pleads not guilty in LA to tax charges | Inquirer

Hunter Biden pleads not guilty in LA to tax charges

/ 01:26 AM January 12, 2024

LOS ANGELES – One day after Hunter Biden’s appearance on Capitol Hill at a committee meeting over whether to hold him in contempt of Congress, President Joe Biden’s son pleaded not guilty on Thursday in Los Angeles federal court to unrelated tax charges.

Hunter Biden was charged in an indictment returned Dec. 7 on nine federal tax charges for allegedly refusing to pay his taxes, according to the US Department of Justice.

Biden, 53, of Malibu, “spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle rather than paying his tax bills,” the indictment alleges.

Hunter Biden in dark suit

Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, accompanied by his attorney Abbe Lowell, left, talks to reporters as they leave a House Oversight Committee hearing as Republicans are taking the first step toward holding him in contempt of Congress, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The president’s son appeared in the federal courtroom in downtown Los Angeles for a combined arraignment hearing and status conference in the case.

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“We’re here today because you’ve been accused of a criminal offense,” US District Judge Mark Scarsi told the defendant, who appeared relaxed in a dark suit as he sat between his two lawyers.

Asked if he understood the nature of the charges, Hunter Biden answered, “Yes, your honor.”

A courtroom deputy then requested his plea. “Not guilty,” the president’s son responded.


The judge indicated that conditions of Hunter Biden’s release would be identical to those discussed when he pleaded not guilty in October in Wilmington, Delaware, to three counts related to lying on a federal form to acquire a Colt Cobra handgun in 2018 and for being an illegal drug user in possession of the gun.

The president’s son is banned from possessing a firearm, drinking alcohol and taking drugs. Hunter Biden must submit to random drug testing, participate in substance abuse therapy and seek employment, according to his release conditions.

Scarsi set a motions hearing for March 27, a pretrial hearing on June 3 and a trial date of June 20.


A throng of TV cameras awaited Biden’s appearance outside the courthouse. About three dozen reporters watched the arraignment in the judge’s seventh-floor courtroom and in a nearly empty overflow room. Few members of the public attended the hearing.

Biden’s arraignment Thursday came a day after the House Oversight Committee in Washington was set to vote on the contempt matter – only to be sidetracked when Biden made his unexpected appearance.

The committee had recommended that Hunter Biden be held in contempt for not complying with a subpoena to sit for a closed-door deposition as part of the panel’s impeachment inquiry into the president. Hunter Biden has said he’s willing to testify publicly, but not behind closed doors.

Ultimately, he departed Wednesday’s House hearing after about 10 minutes as Republican and Democratic committee members squabbled over whether to let him address the panel. He left without doing so.

The impeachment investigation stems from claims the president was involved in or benefited from his son’s foreign business dealings.

Regarding the federal tax charges, the 56-page indictment says that, between 2016 and Oct. 15, 2020, “the defendant spent this money on drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature, in short, everything but his taxes.”

Hunter Biden faces as many as 17 years in prison if convicted of all the charges. He faces three felony counts, including tax evasion, and six misdemeanor counts of failure to pay taxes.

The president’s son is also under indictment on federal gun charges in Delaware that allege he broke laws against drug users having guns in 2018.

In July, he had agreed to plead guilty there to two misdemeanor tax counts and acknowledge a firearms violation without a conviction, receiving no jail time.

But the deal collapsed when the judge questioned its terms and refused to sign off on it.

His attorney, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement when the tax charges were announced that “based on the facts and the law, if Hunter’s last name was anything other than Biden, the (previously announced firearms) charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought.”

Lowell said, “Now, after five years of investigating with no new evidence – and two years after Hunter paid his taxes in full – the US Attorney has piled on nine new charges when he had agreed just months ago to resolve this matter with a pair of misdemeanors.”

Described in the indictment as a Georgetown- and Yale-educated lawyer, lobbyist, consultant and businessperson, Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian industrial conglomerate and a Chinese private equity fund during the time of the tax allegations.

“He negotiated and executed contracts and agreements for business and legal services that paid millions of dollars of compensation to him and/or his domestic corporations, Owasco PC and Owasco LLC,” according to the indictment.

In addition to his business interests, the defendant was an employee of a multinational law firm, the document states.

At the time of the now-defunct plea deal in Delaware, Biden said he had forgotten to pay his taxes during a period when he was in the grip of drug addiction. (CNS)

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TAGS: crime, criminal charges, taxes
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