A California grand jury has returned a nine-count indictment against Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden's son, charging him with three felony tax offenses and six misdemeanor tax offenses.
Special counsel David Weiss announced the indictment on Thursday night, which alleges Mr. Biden spent millions on a lavish lifestyle and drugs instead of fulfilling his tax obligations between 2016 and 2019—totaling at least $1.4 million.
If convicted on all counts, the president's son could face a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison.
The Epoch Times contacted Mr. Biden's lawyer, the White House, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for comment.
The new indictment comes after a plea deal Mr. Biden entered with prosecutors fell apart in July under a judge's scrutiny.
The deal, revealed in June, involved the president's son pleading guilty to intentionally failing to pay federal income taxes for 2017 and 2018. It also meant he would have admitted to a felony gun charge as part of a pretrial diversion agreement. Such diversion programs enable defendants to get charges dismissed if they meet certain criteria.
However, at the July hearing, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika, a Trump appointee, said she couldn't accept the deal, which linked tax crimes to resolving felony gun charges. He ultimately pleaded not guilty.
Mr. Biden was widely expected to avoid prison time under the defunct plea deal, which raised the ire of Republicans, who alleged that the president's son was being treated with kid gloves.
Republicans have launched congressional investigations into the DOJ's handling of this investigation, which whistleblowers say was slow-walked, as well as Mr. Biden's foreign business dealings and President Joe Biden's involvement in them.
President Biden has consistently denied involvement in his son's business dealings.
After the plea deal collapsed, prosecutors filed three federal gun charges against Mr. Biden, alleging he lied about his drug use to purchase a gun that he possessed for 11 days in 2018. Federal law prohibits gun possession by "habitual drug users."
Mr. Biden's history with drug abuse was referenced in a draft of the scuttled plea deal, which noted that his substance misuse worsened during part of the period in which he dodged paying his taxes. This period followed the death of his brother, Beau Biden, in 2015.
Between 2017 and 2018, Mr. Biden made over $2.2 million in business and consulting fees from a company he formed with the CEOs of a Chinese business conglomerate and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, according to prosecutors, who say he did not pay his taxes on a total of about $4 million in personal income during that period.
Eventually, Mr. Biden filed his tax returns between February and October of 2020, according to his indictment, and the back taxes were paid by a “third party” the following year.