Hunter Biden hit with 9 tax-related charges in new indictment

Hunter Biden has been indicted on nine tax-related charges, including three felony counts, according to court documents filed Thursday in a federal court in Los Angeles.

The 56-page court filing laid out a series of charges, including allegations that the president’s son failed to pay taxes, failed to file, evaded an assessment and filed a fraudulent form. The indictment alleges that “rather than pay his taxes, the Defendant spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle.”

“Between 2016 and October 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,” the indictment said.

The charges, which include six misdemeanor tax offenses, were brought by special counsel David Weiss. The case was assigned to Judge Mark Scarsi, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump.

The maximum penalty the president’s son could face if convicted is 17 years in prison, according to Weiss’ office.

“According to the indictment, Hunter Biden engaged in a four-year scheme in which he chose not to pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019 and to evade the assessment of taxes for tax year 2018 when he filed false returns,” Weiss’ office said in a news release.

The White House declined to comment on the charges and referred NBC News to Hunter Biden’s personal attorneys as well as the Justice Department. The attorneys did not immediately provide a comment.

A White House official said they learned of the charges from public reporting and did not have advanced notice.

The indictment does not appear to reference President Biden or his role as president or vice president.

The additional charges against the president’s son mark a significant development in a federal investigation that has drawn scrutiny from congressional Republicans, who have seized on Hunter Biden’s legal woes as rhetorical ammunition against his father. House Republicans subpoenaed Hunter Biden in November, and his legal team has said that he’s open to testifying publicly before the House Oversight Committee next week.

“The first sweetheart deal came after whistleblowers came forward,” said a source familiar with the House GOP investigation into Hunter Biden. “Now Weiss files charges on [the] eve of Hunter Biden testimony and after the whistleblowers testified again. No such thing as a coincidence in Washington.”

In July, Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to federal tax charges following the collapse of a plea deal. A federal judge dismissed the misdemeanor charges in August. He had originally been expected to plead guilty to two federal misdemeanor counts of failing to pay taxes.

Hunter Biden was indicted on federal gun charges in September related to the president’s son being in possession of a gun while using narcotics. Two of the counts allege that Biden completed a form saying he was not using illegal drugs when he bought a gun. Another count asserts that he possessed a firearm while using a narcotic. He pleaded not guilty.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss as special counsel in August to oversee the investigation into Hunter Biden.

“As special counsel, he will continue to have the authority and responsibility that he has previously exercised to oversee the investigation and decide where, when and whether to file charges,” Garland said when announcing Weiss’ appointment. “The special counsel will not be subject to the day-to-day supervision of any official of the Department, but he must comply with the regulations, procedures, and policies of the Department.”

Weiss was nominated by Trump in 2017 and started serving as U.S. attorney in Delaware the next year. He remained in office through the start of the Biden administration, even as most U.S. attorneys appointed during the Trump administration were asked to resign.

On Monday, Weiss asked a federal judge to deny Hunter Biden’s request to subpoena Trump, former Attorney General William Barr and other Trump administration officials.

“His allegations and subpoena requests focus on likely inadmissible, far-reaching, and non-specific categories of documents concerning the actions and motives of individuals who did not make the relevant prosecutorial decision in his case,” Weiss’ team said.

President Biden is expected to attend fundraisers this weekend in Los Angeles, the city where the charges against his son were filed. The trip was planned long before Thursday’s indictment.

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