Hunter Biden updates: Plea deal on tax charges potentially ends DOJ probe

The younger Biden has been under investigation for alleged tax-related offenses.

Last Updated: June 20, 2023, 4:20 PM EDT

Hunter Biden, the president's son, has agreed to plead guilty to a pair of tax-related misdemeanors and enter into a pretrial diversion agreement that would enable him to avoid prosecution on one felony gun charge, which would potentially end a yearslong probe, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Biden will acknowledge his failure to pay taxes on income he received in 2017 and 2018, according to the agreement. In exchange, prosecutors will recommend probation, meaning he will likely avoid prison time. For the gun charge, he will agree to pretrial diversion, with the charge being dropped if he adheres to certain terms.

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Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern.
Jun 20, 2023, 10:05 AM EDT

Hunter Biden to plead guilty to tax charges, enter pretrial program for gun charge

Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, has agreed to plead guilty to a pair of tax-related misdemeanors as part of a deal that would potentially end a politically fraught and yearslong probe into his personal and professional life, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Under an agreement negotiated with the U.S. attorney's office in Delaware, the younger Biden, 53, will acknowledge his failure to pay taxes on income he received in 2017 and 2018. In exchange, prosecutors will recommend probation, meaning he will likely avoid prison time.

The agreement also includes what is known as a pretrial diversion for one felony count related to illegal possession of a firearm, which would not require Hunter Biden to submit a plea on that charge and stipulates that prosecutors would agree to drop it if he adheres to certain terms over a specified period of time.

If a federal judge accepts the deal, Tuesday's development would mark the conclusion of an investigation that has dogged not only Hunter Biden, but also his father, whose political foes have latched onto the younger Biden's overseas business dealings to level allegations depicting the entire Biden family as corrupt.

Jun 20, 2023, 4:12 PM EDT

US attorney says he had 'ultimate authority' over probe in letter to Congress

The Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in the Hunter Biden investigation made clear to Congress that Attorney General Merrick Garland had granted him "ultimate authority" over the probe, according to a letter obtained by ABC News.

"While your letter does not specify by name the ongoing investigation that is the subject of the Committee's oversight, its content suggests your inquiry is related to an investigation in my District," U.S. Attorney David Weiss wrote in the June 7 letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

U.S. Attorney David Weiss gives a press conference outside of the Federal Courthouse.
Suchat Pederson/AP, FILE

"If my assumption is correct, I want to make clear that, as the Attorney General has stated, I have been granted ultimate authority over this matter, including responsibility for deciding where, when, and whether to file charges and for making decisions necessary to preserve the integrity of the prosecution, consistent with federal law, the Principles of Federal Prosecution, and Departmental regulations," he wrote.

In the letter, Weiss said he was asked in February 2021 to remain as U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware to continue overseeing the matter.

"Since that time, I have fulfilled my responsibilities, consistent with Department practices and procedures, and will continue to do so," he wrote. "Throughout my tenure as U.S. Attorney my decisions have been made -- and with respect to the matter must be made -- without reference to political considerations."

-ABC News' Katherine Faulders

Jun 20, 2023, 1:47 PM EDT

Plea deal 'reflects the DOJ's continued institutional independence': Raskin

As the plea deal faces criticism from some Republican lawmakers, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said the development in the Hunter Biden case "reflects the Justice Department’s continued institutional independence in following the evidence of actual crimes."

“Oversight Committee Republicans have advanced debunked conspiracy theories about President Biden and are now, again, wailing about the work of a Trump appointed U.S. Attorney," Raskin said in a statement. "Meanwhile, our colleagues have refused to investigate Jared Kushner and Donald Trump's receipt of billions of dollars from autocratic regimes after handing them a string of outrageous policy favors and concessions."

-ABC News' Lauren Peller

Jun 20, 2023, 11:55 AM EDT

McCarthy: 'If you are the president's son, you get a sweetheart deal'

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave his first reaction to Hunter Biden's plea deal this morning, telling ABC News "it continues to show the two-tiered system in America."

"If you are the president's leading political opponent, the DOJ tries to literally put you in jail and give you prison time," McCarthy said.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks during an event at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., on June 7, 2023.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

"If you are the president's son, you get a sweetheart deal," he continued.

McCarthy said the development will only "enhance" their congressional investigations because the Justice Department "should not be able to withhold any information now."

He ignored questions from ABC News about whether Congress wants to hear directly from David Weiss, the U.S. attorney appointed by Trump who conducted the investigation. A source familiar with the matter told ABC News that U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland left the decision completely up to Weiss.

-ABC News' Katherine Faulders, Lauren Peller, Gabe Ferris and Lalee Ibssa

Jun 20, 2023, 11:55 AM EDT

Sen. Graham says plea raises questions about 'sweetheart deal'

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top ally for former President Donald Trump, said news of Hunter Biden's plea deal raises a lot of questions about the Department of Justice's actions.

Graham is the first Senate Republican to comment on camera since news of the guilty plea broke.

"This has taken over four years. And to wind up with tax evasion and a gun charge, there will be a lot of questions. And the one question that people ask: Is this a sweetheart deal?" Graham said while talking to reporters at a press conference in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

-ABC News' Allie Pecorin