Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden's federal tax trial delayed until September

A judge grants defense attorneys' request to delay the start of Hunter Biden's tax trial, which had been set to start the same month as his trial on federal firearms charges.

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What to Know

  • Hunter Biden's trial on federal tax charges is delayed to Sept. 5.
  • The trial had been scheduled for June, when Hunter Biden also faces trial on federal firearms charges.
  • Biden, who has a residence in Malibu, has claimed both cases are politically motivated.

A judge delayed the start of Hunter Biden's federal tax trial to September after a hearing Wednesday in a Los Angeles courtroom where his attorneys argued they would have little time to prepare for two federal trials in the same month.

Biden's lawyers asked for the delay, which had been set to begin June 20 in Los Angeles on charges that President Biden's son schemed to avoid paying $1.4 million in taxes. The attorneys noted that Hunter Biden also will stand trial next month in Delaware on federal firearms charges.

The tax trial is now scheduled to start Sept. 5.

Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to both indictments brought by Justice Department special counsel David Weiss.

The judge Wednesday agreed with defense attorneys' claims that they could not adequately prepare simultaneously for the two trials. The ruling avoids a scenario in which the Hunter Biden would have faced two trials on opposite coasts as his father campaigns for re-election against former President Donald Trump.

Biden, who has a residence in Malibu, has claimed both cases are politically motivated.

Judge Mark C. Scarsi, appointed to the bench by Trump, heard arguments Wednesday from the defense and prosecutors, who opposed the delay.

In pressing for the delay, Hunter Biden's lawyers noted the “uniquely challenging and high-profile nature of this case" as well as “the fact Mr. Biden and the same counsel will be starting trial in Delaware just two and a half weeks before this trial is set to begin.”

Prosecutors said the heightened press coverage does not impact the defense's preparation for trial in any way, describing it as a “straightforward tax case.”

“He is not above the rule of law and should be treated like any other defendant,” the special counsel's team wrote in a recent court filing.

About the federal cases against Hunter Biden

The tax trial indictment alleges that Hunter Biden failed to pay at least $1.4 million in taxes over four years while living an “extravagant lifestyle" during a period in which he has acknowledged struggling with addiction. The back taxes have since been paid.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week rejected a defense bid to dismiss the case. The appeals court didn't rule on the merits of his claims but said the issues can’t be appealed at this time.

In the gun case, prosecutors allege that Biden lied about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a firearm that he kept for about 11 days in Delaware. He has acknowledged an addiction to crack cocaine during that period, but his lawyers have said he didn’t break the law.

Lawyers for Hunter Biden plan to sue Fox News “imminently,” according to a letter sent to the network and obtained by NBC News.

His lawyers had urged the judge last week to push that trial to September, saying they needed time to line up witnesses and sort through evidence. But U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika in Delaware denied that request, saying she believes “everyone can get done what needs to get done” by June 3.

The long-running federal investigation into the president's son had looked ready to wrap up with a plea deal last year, but the agreement imploded after a judge raised questions about it. Hunter Biden was subsequently indicted.

Under the deal, he would have gotten two years’ probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges. He also would have avoided prosecution on the gun charge if he stayed out of trouble.

His attorneys have argued that prosecutors bowed to political pressure to indict him amid heavy criticism of the plea deal from Trump and other Republicans.

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