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Hunter Biden agrees to plead guilty in tax case and avoid prosecution on gun charge

Hunter Biden leaves after President Joe Biden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 17 people during a White House ceremony on July 7, 2022.
Susan Walsh
Hunter Biden leaves after President Joe Biden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 17 people during a White House ceremony on July 7, 2022.

Updated June 20, 2023 at 9:43 AM ET

Hunter Biden, the surviving son of the president, has been charged with federal offenses related to his taxes and business dealings, the Justice Department said.

The younger Biden pleaded guilty to two charges related to his filing of federal income taxes. Federal authorities also charged him with a firearm offense, for which he agreed to enter a pretrial diversion agreement that allows him to avoid prosecution.

"With the announcement of two agreements between my client, Hunter Biden, and the Unites States Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware, it is my understanding that the five-year investigation into Hunter is resolved," Chris Clark, Biden's attorney, said in a statement.

Clark added: "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. He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward."

The move follows a lengthy investigation by the U.S. Attorney in Delaware, where the Biden family has established a political dynasty. Joe Biden served as a U.S. senator for 36 years, before he became vice president in 2009, and his late son Beau worked as attorney general there. (Beau died in 2015.)

David Weiss, the top prosecutor in the state, is one of just two U.S. attorneys who stayed on the job at the end of the Trump years, to continue to oversee the Hunter Biden probe. Republicans in Congress had pressed the Justice Department to name a special prosecutor in the case, but federal authorities resisted that idea, arguing that Weiss and his team had been working smoothly and free from political interference.

A grand jury in Delaware has been hearing from witnesses close to Hunter Biden for months. Biden's legal team has said publicly that he faced investigation on his tax practices and other business interests overseas. At the same time of some of the conduct at issue in the investigation, Hunter Biden struggled with alcohol and drug addictions and a messy personal life.

"Everybody has trauma," Hunter Biden told the New Yorker magazine in 2019. "There's addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. I was in that tunnel—it's a never-ending tunnel. You don't get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it."
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Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.