Legal experts weigh in on Hunter Biden’s plea deal, sparking debate on preferential treatment
Hunter Biden’s recent plea deal to resolve his legal troubles has ignited a contentious discussion regarding whether he received special treatment. While Republicans criticize the agreement, which allows Biden to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax crimes and avoid imprisonment for a felony gun charge, legal experts suggest that the situation is more complex.
Former IRS lawyers argue that Biden’s deal is not an anomaly and aligns with what ordinary taxpayers would expect in similar circumstances. On the other hand, two former tax officials contend that he could have faced more severe charges.
Interestingly, critics note an irony in former President Donald Trump’s criticism of the deal. They assert that Trump himself could have secured a similar agreement if he had cooperated with federal investigators examining his retention of government documents. Instead, Trump faces indictment and potential imprisonment for obstructing those investigators.
Maggie Abdo-Gomez, a former IRS lawyer, highlights that criminal charges for failure to pay taxes are rare. She points out that if such cases were prosecuted more extensively, the jails would be overflowing. Another former IRS employee, Kathy Enstrom, suggests that Biden could have faced stiffer charges, noting that felony convictions are usually the goal in IRS Criminal Investigation cases.
According to Mark Milton, a former trial attorney at the Justice Department’s Tax Division, misdemeanor tax charges are uncommon, and the limited details provided in court filings offer minimal insight into Biden’s financial wrongdoing. He believes that the fact that Biden is only pleading guilty to misdemeanors indicates potential special treatment.
Attorney General Merrick Garland staunchly refutes allegations of preferential treatment, emphasizing that the U.S. attorney overseeing the investigation and approving the plea deal was appointed by Trump.
The plea deal includes a diversion program typically used for defendants with substance abuse issues, leading to the dropping of the gun charge if Hunter Biden complies with the program’s conditions. The charge itself, possessing a firearm while being a user of illegal drugs, is not frequently prosecuted by the Justice Department.
While experts point to constitutional concerns with the gun law and potential preferential treatment, they acknowledge that determining the motives behind the plea deal is challenging.
Despite social media claims by Trump suggesting a cover-up and election interference, Elkan Abramowitz, a prominent criminal defense attorney, believes that Trump himself could have secured a misdemeanor deal if he had fully cooperated in the investigation of his handling of classified documents.
The ongoing debate surrounding Hunter Biden’s plea deal underscores the complex nature of the legal system and the divergent perspectives on whether he received fair treatment or special consideration.