(FROM SRN NEWS AND REUTERS) –
President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to tax charges on Wednesday, after a federal judge in Delaware said she needed more time to review a proposed deal with federal prosecutors to avoid a felony gun charge.
The stunning turnabout came after what was expected to be a routine plea hearing turned into a three-hour affair featuring hushed negotiations between lawyers and pointed questions from U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika.
“I cannot accept the plea agreement today,” she said, asking the parties to brief her on why she should accept it.
That means that Hunter Biden’s lawyers and prosecutors may yet persuade Noreika to approve the deal as it was previously negotiated, or to alter it to a form she can accept.
But the news means the saga will continue to drag out even as the elder Biden campaigns for re-election in 2024, in a possible rematch with former President Donald Trump, who faces his own extensive legal woes.
Hunter Biden was accused of failing to pay taxes on more than $1.5 million in income in 2017 and 2018 despite owing more than $100,000, prosecutors allege.
He is charged in a separate case with unlawfully owning a firearm while addicted to and using a controlled substance, a felony.