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Hunter Biden's lawyers say prosecutors reneged on plea agreement

In a filing late Sunday, lawyers for the president's son said prosecutors “proposed and largely dictated the form and content” of the plea agreement that fell apart.
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Hunter Biden’s attorneys said in a court filing late Sunday that federal prosecutors had reneged on their plea agreement in the probe of Biden's business dealings.

The filing comes after Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss as special counsel to continue his investigation into the president's son. Weiss, who was already overseeing the investigation, was announced as special counsel on Friday after he requested the title earlier last week.

Weiss’ office told the court they would likely move forward with charges in California or Washington, D.C., where they had venue for the federal tax charges.

Hunter Biden was expected to plead guilty to two federal misdemeanor counts of failing to pay his taxes after reaching a plea agreement with Weiss. But the deal collapsed last month over confusion about a separate felony gun possession charge, and Biden instead pleaded not guilty.

At a court hearing last month, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika said that she wouldn't accept or reject the plea agreement until both sides had addressed her concerns over its terms.

In the filing late Sunday, Biden’s lawyers said that while they were "still prepared to respond to the questions Your Honor posed at the July 26 hearing, in light of the United States’ decision on Friday to renege on the previously agreed-upon Plea Agreement, we agree that those issues are moot at this point."

They also said prosecutors “proposed and largely dictated the form and content” of the plea agreement and a separate "pretrial diversion agreement" dealing with the federal charge over Biden’s illegal ownership of a Colt Cobra .38 Special handgun. Biden had conceivably reached a pretrial agreement about the issue that would delay the charges for 24 months, assuming he did not violate certain terms during that period — which included being added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, no use of controlled substances or alcohol, and no violations of local, state or federal laws. If he violated the terms of the agreement, he could be charged with a felony.

Biden's lawyers argued that the gun-related agreement was already in effect because it is a contract between Biden and prosecutors that both sides signed and usually does not need a judge’s approval.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

The Sunday filing from Biden's lawyers came after Noreika ordered them to respond to federal prosecutors’ notice to the court that they wished to dismiss the charges filed against Biden because they were prepared to go to trial. Noreika ordered prosecutors to respond to Biden's lawyers' Sunday filing by Tuesday.

Earlier Sunday, Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, accused prosecutors in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday of changing “their decision on the fly,” referring to the derailment of the plea deal.

“One, they wrote something and weren’t clear what they meant," he said. "Two, they knew what they meant, and misstated it to counsel. Or third, they changed their view as they were standing in court in Delaware."

Lowell also said he is “confident” that no new evidence or criminal charges would emerge.

“I’m confident that if this prosecutor does what has been done for the last five years, look at the facts, the evidence and the law, then the only conclusion can be what the conclusion was on July 26,” he said. “There’s no new evidence to be found.”