We were all appalled to hear in June that Hunter Biden had received a sweetheart plea deal from U.S. Attorney David Weiss. Under that agreement, Hunter would plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges of tax evasion and enter into a pretrial diversion agreement on a felony charge of possession of a firearm by a user of illegal drugs.
As we know, the deal fell apart in spectacular fashion at the hands of Judge Maryellen Noreika on July 26. In particular, she took issue with the constitutionality of the diversion clause and the broad immunity the agreement provided to him. Hours later, Hunter pleaded not guilty to all charges and left the courthouse.
What we did not know was that a prior agreement had been reached between Weiss’ office and Hunter’s attorneys in May that was even more advantageous.
On Saturday, Politico reported they had reviewed a 32-page letter from Hunter’s attorney Chris Clark to Weiss’ office and obtained “more than 300 pages of previously unreported emails and documents exchanged between Hunter Biden’s legal team and prosecutors.”
According to Politico, after much back and forth between Biden’s attorneys and Weiss’ office, they agreed on:
[T]he first draft of a proposed deal, structured so it wouldn’t need a judge’s sign-off and wouldn’t require a guilty plea from Biden.
As part of the deal, Biden would admit he was late filing his taxes for 2017 and 2018, and that he owned a gun while he was using drugs. He would promise to pay any taxes he still owed, to pay his taxes on time for the next five years, and to never own a gun again. The deal would be made public, and it would also cover three corporate entities affiliated with him.
If he upheld his end of the bargain through January 2025, the Justice Department would promise not to prosecute him for anything they’d investigated thus far. The draft wording of that promise was clear and broad: “The Department of Justice agrees not to criminally prosecute Robert Hunter Biden and the affiliated businesses (namely: Owasco P.C.; Owasco LLC; and Skaneateles LLC): (a) for any federal crimes arising from the conduct generally described in the attached Statement of Facts (Attachment A); or (b) for any other federal crimes relating to matters investigated by the United States.”
Weiss’ team of prosecutors seemed pleased. That evening, Wolf sent the Biden team a list of must-haves for a potential deal, noting that many of them were already in the first draft.
That evening, one of Biden’s lawyers sent another draft pretrial diversion agreement addressing both the gun and tax issues. It was still quite similar to their first. It also incorporated Wolf’s must-haves, and it guaranteed Biden the same broad protection from prosecution for anything the Justice Department had investigated up to that point. It also guaranteed that the department would move to dismiss all charges if Biden upheld his end of the deal — no guilty plea necessary.
Unfortunately for Hunter, a May 24 CBS News interview of IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley changed everything. Weiss was willing to keep the pretrial diversion agreement in place for the gun charge, but insisted on guilty pleas for the tax charges.
Clearly, none of us is surprised by this development. What is surprising is that Politico and The New York Times covered this story in such detail.