Hunter Biden, President’s Son, Appears in Court on Tax Evasion Charges

hunter biden Tax Evasion Indictment

A day after he walked out on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) during a surprise appearance at a House Oversight Committee hearing, Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to tax evasion in a federal courtroom in Los Angeles Thursday. He received a trial date of June 20.

It was the first court appearance for President Joe Biden’s son after a federal grand jury indicted him December 7 on nine charges alleging he “willfully failed” to pay $1.4 million in taxes while living an “extravagant lifestyle.” Dressed in a navy blue suit and tie, Hunter Biden entered the courtroom through a side door under heavy security. He smiled and chatted with one of his defense lawyers, Angela Machalla, before entering the plea and agreeing to a long list of terms for his release on his own recognizance.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Scarsi ordered Biden to steer clear of alcohol and drugs, including marijuana, submit to any testing requested by authorities, not possess any weapons, and provide records for his income, expenses and federal and state taxes.

Defense lawyer Abbe Lowell told the court he planned to file a motion related to the “actions of IRS agents” involved in the case. “It will not be a simple motion,” he said without elaborating. He also said there was “a need” for an evidentiary hearing regarding the collapse of a plea deal in the case over the summer. He suggested there was “undue interference” and said unidentified members of Congress may have violated the doctrine of the separation of powers.

“This is not that unusual,” prosecutor Leo J. Wise, a senior assistant to the special counsel, David Weiss, told the court. “Pleas fall apart all the time.”

According to his indictment, Hunter Biden received more than $7 million in total gross income between 2016 and 2020, much of it from his work for companies in Ukraine and China. With the lucrative deals filling his coffers, Biden “subverted the payroll and tax withholding process” of an entity he formed, diverting millions to his own pockets without proper accounting, prosecutors allege.

“Between 2016 and October 15, 2020, the defendant spent this money on drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature, in short, everything but his taxes,” the 56-page indictment spearheaded by Weiss, a holdover from the Trump administration, alleges.

The lengthy indictment claims Biden failed to pay his 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 taxes on time, and that he also used “false business deductions” to reduce “the very substantial tax liability he faced as of February 2020.” If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison, the Justice Department said.

The history of Biden’s prosecution stretches back to 2018, when the Justice Department opened an investigation into his finances amid allegations of tax fraud and money laundering. The focus largely narrowed to Biden’s tax history.

After a plea deal sputtered and then imploded over the summer, Biden was indicted in September in Delaware on three counts related to possessing a firearm while under the influence of narcotics. The following month, he pleaded not guilty to the federal firearms charges.

Biden, 53, has been eager to defend himself. He gave a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol last month instead of sitting for a closed-door deposition. On Wednesday, he crashed the House Oversight Committee hearing that ultimately voted along party lines to recommend holding him in contempt for defying the subpoena in the Republican impeachment inquiry of his father.

His lawyer, Lowell, then spoke outside the hearing room, claiming that committee Republicans had “improper partisan motives,” NBC News reported. Lowell said Biden had offered to work with the House GOP on multiple occasions since February, but his efforts were ignored. Lowell described the November subpoena for a closed-door deposition “a tactic that the Republicans have repeatedly misused in their political crusade to selectively leak and mischaracterize what witnesses have said.”

Shortly before he was indicted in California, Biden appeared on musician Moby’s podcast to address what he described as a campaign of harassment and intimidation waged against his family by MAGA adherents and right-wing extremists. Biden and Moby became friends while in recovery from addiction, and the podcast was released a day after the Dec. 7 indictment.


He said that partisan attacks against him are meant to “undermine” his “dad’s confidence and ability to continue to campaign and move forward.” He said the goal is to scare his father into stepping back from politics to focus on family. “They just began to attack, and attack, and attack,” he said, claiming opponents even tried to leverage the death of his brother, Beau Biden, to terrorize Joe Biden into thinking he could also “lose his son who he’d just regained” from the throes of addiction.

“What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to kill me, knowing that it will be a pain greater than my father could be able to handle, and so therefore destroying a presidency in that way,” Hunter Biden said. 

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