Hunter Biden’s plea deal to misdemeanor tax charges stands on the brink of collapsing after the parties could not agree on the extent to which its terms protect him from prosecution for other crimes.
The disagreement between Biden’s lawyers and prosecutors came to light under intense questioning from U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika during a hearing in Wilmington.
She noted the deal immunized Biden from prosecution for any conduct described in the agreement, which mostly detailed his failure to pay taxes in 2017 and 2018.
But Noreika noted that the agreement mentioned some of that income came from foreign entities.
The judge asked whether the agreement, for instance, protects Biden from charges related to those entities such as a hypothetical charge of failing to register as a foreign agent.
Prosecutors said no. Biden’s lawyer, Christopher Clark, disagreed.
As Noreika insisted that they must agree first on the implication of any deal before she’d accept Biden’s plea, prosecutor Leo Wise responded: “Then there’s no deal.”
Clark agreed, describing the plea agreement at that point as “null and void.”
But Clark asked the judge for a few more minutes to see if he could work out his differences with the government before calling off Biden’s expected guilty plea.
The judge gave both sides a brief recess – the second so far – to see if they can reach a new understanding.