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Chances of Hunter Biden facing trial rise with appointment of US special counsel

Hunter Biden facing trial

Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, might be heading towards a trial for potential criminal charges as talks about a plea deal have hit a roadblock, according to David Weiss, the newly appointed U.S. Special Counsel overseeing the case.

The decision to elevate Weiss to special counsel status was announced by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, granting him greater authority to continue his investigation.

Republicans in Congress have raised concerns and even threatened an impeachment inquiry based on unproven allegations of Joe Biden benefiting from his son’s business ventures.

In June, Weiss filed criminal charges against Hunter Biden related to taxes and firearms, but a proposed plea deal was rejected by a federal judge. Weiss recently stated in a court filing that an agreement between the two sides seems unlikely, pointing towards a potential trial.

Originally appointed by former Republican President Donald Trump, Weiss began looking into Hunter Biden’s activities in 2019 and was allowed to continue during the Biden administration. His new role as special counsel provides him with increased independence compared to standard federal prosecutors.

The motive behind Weiss’s appointment remains unclear, whether driven by political pressure from Republicans or indicative of a broader investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings that could lead to further charges.

Upon completing his work, Weiss will produce a report, which will be made as public as possible by the Justice Department, according to Garland. Garland emphasized that Weiss’s appointment reinforces the department’s commitment to both independence and accountability.

Republicans have accused Joe Biden of benefiting from his son’s business ventures in Ukraine and China, though concrete evidence of wrongdoing is yet to be presented. The White House has dismissed these allegations as baseless and asserted that Joe Biden was not involved in his son’s business matters. Weiss’s years-long inquiry has not discovered any evidence of Hunter using his father’s political influence for personal gain.

Hunter Biden, 53, has been involved in various professional roles such as a lobbyist, lawyer, consultant, and investment banker. He has publicly acknowledged his struggles with alcoholism and crack cocaine use.

Weiss’s charges against Hunter Biden include failure to pay taxes in 2017 and 2018, as well as unlawful possession of a firearm while addicted to illegal drugs. A previous attempt to reach a deal that would have allowed Biden to plead guilty to tax charges while avoiding the gun charge was rejected by a federal judge.

The broader legal landscape includes Special Counsel Jack Smith’s cases against former President Trump, one of which accuses Trump of attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and another alleging improper handling of sensitive government documents after leaving the White House.

Hunter Biden’s interactions have also drawn attention from Republican congressional committees. A former associate mentioned during a House Oversight Committee hearing that Hunter emphasized his family connections while doing business in Ukraine about a decade ago, although he clarified that conversations with his father did not involve business matters.

Former President Trump has frequently referenced Hunter Biden in relation to his father’s political image, particularly as both parties gear up for a potential rematch in the 2024 presidential election.

A June Reuters/Ipsos poll revealed that half of Americans, including 75% of Republicans and 33% of Democrats, believed that Hunter Biden received preferential treatment from Weiss. However, most respondents indicated that this perception would not impact their voting decisions in the upcoming year.

(Additional reporting by Rami Ayyub, Jacqueline Thomsen, and David Ljunggren; Written by Andy Sullivan; Edited by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell) Read ore>>

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