Newly appointed special counsel David Weiss said the plea deal Hunter Biden struck with federal prosecutors is not binding, as Biden’s lawyers had previously argued.
Biden’s lawyers in a separate court filing Sunday said federal prosecutors decided to renege on the agreed-upon plea agreement.
Tensions over Biden’s legal troubles have been rising as GOP lawmakers released testimony from another whistleblower.
Hunter Biden, special counsel Weiss’ back and forth in courts
Under the plea deal, Biden, son of President Joe Biden, was going to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and enter a pretrial diversion agreement to avoid prosecution on the felony gun charge.
Federal prosecutors “proposed and largely dictated the form and content” of the deal, which also gave Biden immunity from any further charges and was said to resolve “the government’s sprawling five-year investigation,” the defense attorneys said.
But in his filing, Weiss argued that prosecutors “did not ‘renege’ on the ‘previously agreed-upon Plea Agreement,’” adding that Biden “chose to plead not guilty at the hearing on July 26, 2023, and U.S. Probation declined to approve the proposed diversion agreement.”
Judge Maryellen Noreika said she had concerns about the agreement during a July court hearing. She cited the ongoing congressional investigation and the possibility that Biden could face additional charges.
“It seems to me like you are saying ‘just rubber stamp the agreement, Your Honor.’ … This seems to me to be form over substance,” she said during the court hearing, asking the defendant and the prosecutor for additional briefs.
After Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss as special counsel last week, Weiss in a court filing said the negotiations over the plea deal were at an “impasse.”
He also moved to dismiss the tax charges against Biden so that they can be refiled in Washington, D.C., or California, where Biden allegedly committed the tax-related offenses, instead of being pursued in Delaware, as the Deseret News reported.
House Republicans release new whistleblower testimony
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability released a transcript of a former FBI supervisory special agent, who alleged that the “FBI headquarters tipped off Secret Service headquarters and the Biden transition team about the planned Hunter Biden interview during U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss’ investigation,” according to a press release.
The FBI agent’s name is redacted in the transcript.
The latest testimony corroborated what IRS Supervisory Special Agent Gary Shapley previously told the committee.
“Shapley and the FBI agent planned to interview Hunter Biden in December 2020, but learned the night before that the Biden transition team was tipped off,” said committee chairman James Comer, R-Ky. “They were told to not approach Hunter Biden and wait for his call. That never happened, and they never got to interview Hunter Biden.”
Comer added this was another example of the “Justice Department’s misconduct in the Biden criminal investigation that occurred under U.S. Attorney Weiss’ watch.”
Shapley has previously alleged that Weiss, the U.S. attorney of Delaware who launched the investigation into Biden in 2018, struggled to bring the charges forward while being denied special counsel status last year.
But Weiss said that he did not request special counsel status in a letter and only discussed a “potential appointment” that would allow him “to file charges in a district outside my own without the partnership of the local U.S. Attorney.”
Dems, White House continue brushing off allegations
House Democrats pushed back on Comer’s statements. Committee Ranking Member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said that the release of the testimony is “timed to distract from news of an imminent potential fourth criminal indictment of Donald Trump.”
“(The testimony) features the same selective and distorted parsing of information we have come to expect in service of the Republicans’ fruitless investigation into President Biden, which has failed to turn up a single shred of evidence of wrongdoing,” he added.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a press briefing on Monday that Republican lawmakers have spent years investigating the allegations against the Biden family but “they keep turning up documents and witnesses showing that the president wasn’t involved, never discussed these business dealings, and did nothing wrong.”
Of Weiss’ appointment as special counsel, she said the president believes the current administration should not politicize the DOJ.