Hunter Biden under scrutiny as special counsel appointed and plea deal collapses

Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, is facing increased legal pressure as a special counsel has been appointed to investigate his business dealings and a plea deal over tax evasion and a gun charge is likely to head to trial. The younger Biden has been the target of various controversies and allegations for years, ranging from his drug addiction to his foreign connections. Here are some of the key developments and facts about Hunter Biden’s case.

The special counsel investigation

On Friday, August 12, 2023, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that US attorney David Weiss would be the special counsel in the Hunter Biden probe, deepening the investigation of the president’s son ahead of the 2024 election. A special counsel is an attorney who can investigate, and possibly prosecute, a case in which the Justice Department sees itself as having a conflict or where a case is deemed to have public interest.

The special counsel investigation stems from a years-long probe into Hunter Biden’s finances, including his tax affairs and business dealings in China. The investigation was reportedly launched as early as 2018 by federal prosecutors. According to Mr. Garland, Mr. Weiss asked to be appointed to the position, saying that “in his judgement, his investigation has reached a stage at which he should continue his work as a special counsel”. Mr. Garland said he agreed to the request, as well as “the extraordinary circumstances relating to this matter”.

The scope and focus of the special counsel investigation are not clear, but it is likely to examine Hunter Biden’s involvement with Burisma, a private Ukrainian energy company, where he served on the board from 2014 to 2019. House Republicans and former President Donald Trump have accused Hunter Biden of using his father’s influence as vice president to secure lucrative deals with foreign entities, especially in Ukraine and China3. However, both Bidens have denied any wrongdoing or conflict of interest, and no evidence has emerged to support the allegations.

The plea deal breakdown

The special counsel announcement comes as plea deal talks in a separate case involving Hunter Biden hit an impasse, meaning a trial is likely. In that case, Hunter Biden faces charges of tax evasion and a gun charge. He was indicted in December 2020 by a grand jury in Delaware for failing to report more than $13 million in income from 2013 to 2017. He was also charged with illegally possessing a firearm while using drugs in 2018.

Hunter Biden was expected to plead guilty earlier this month in exchange for avoiding jail time and paying a fine. However, the plea deal fell apart at a Delaware courthouse after the Trump-appointed judge said she could not agree to the agreement, which ensured Biden would avoid jail time in the gun case. The judge said she had concerns about the leniency of the deal and the lack of accountability for Hunter Biden’s conduct.

The breakdown of the plea deal means that Hunter Biden will likely face a trial, which could expose more details about his personal and financial affairs. The trial could also have political implications for his father, who is expected to run for re-election in 2024. President Biden has repeatedly said he supports his son and has no involvement in his legal matters Asked if he would pardon his son in the event of any conviction, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: “No”


Hunter Biden is under scrutiny as a special counsel has been appointed to investigate his business dealings and a plea deal over tax evasion and a gun charge is likely to head to trial. The younger Biden has been the subject of various controversies and allegations for years, relating to his drug addiction and foreign connections. The legal pressure on Hunter Biden could have an impact on his father’s political career and reputation, as well as on the 2024 presidential race.

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