The Department of Justice (DOJ)’s original deal with Hunter Biden would not have required him to plead guilty, according to documents obtained by Politico, but was altered after whistleblowers came forward shedding light on the DOJ’s handling of the case.
Hunter Biden’s lawyers sent a draft deal to prosecutors in May that not only included a version of the promise of broad immunity for future charges that appeared in the final deal, but also that their client need not plead guilty — a detail the DOJ initially accepted, Politico reported. DOJ prosecutor Lesley Wolf then sent Hunter’s legal team a list of “must-haves” as part of negotiations, with a guilty plea not included in the list.
But days after IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley publicly stated in an interview with CBS News that the DOJ “slow-walked” the investigation, prosecutors said Hunter Biden would need to plead guilty to the two misdemeanor tax charges, sources told Politico.
Hunter Biden’s final deal included a plea deal for the misdemeanor tax charges and a pretrial diversion agreement allowing him to avoid jail time for the felony gun charge. However, a provision of the diversion agreement stated Hunter Biden would not be prosecuted for any crime encompassed by the statement of facts, which included details about his foreign business dealings.
The final deal’s structure, which Judge Maryellen Noreika pointed out during a July 26 hearing was “not standard” and a prosecutor admitted lacked precedent, was one the DOJ agreed with, according to Politico.
The draft deal Hunter Biden’s lawyers initially sent to prosecutors stated, ““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,” according to Politico.
In an August 15 court filing, Special Counsel David Weiss claimed the Defendant’s understanding of the agreement to include broad immunity was “a problem entirely of their own making” that did not result “from the drafting of the proposed plea or diversion agreements.” (RELATED: DOJ Rebukes Hunter Biden’s Lawyers, Denies ‘Sweetheart’ Immunity Agreement Is Valid)
However, Wolf, on June 7, sent one of Hunter’s lawyers a version of the deal containing language that would immunize Hunter from a wide array of prosecutions related to his foreign business dealings.
“The United States agrees not to criminally prosecute Biden, outside of the terms of this Agreement, for any federal crimes encompassed by the attached Statement of Facts (Attachment A) and the Statement of Facts attached as Exhibit 1 to the Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed this same day,” the text read. “This Agreement does not provide any protection against prosecution for any future conduct by Biden or by any of his affiliated businesses.”
Hunter Biden’s lawyers attempted to sway the DOJ early on in negotiations by pointing to Republicans’ whistleblower investigations, arguing bringing charges could be seen as caving to public pressure and could destroy public trust in the DOJ, the outlet reported.
“This of all cases justifies neither the spectacle of a sitting President testifying at a criminal trial nor the potential for a resulting Constitutional crisis,” Hunter Biden’s lawyer Chris Clark wrote, according to a letter obtained by Politico.
“We refer you to Mr. Weiss,” a DOJ spokesperson said in response to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. Hunter’s attorneys and the White House did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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