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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Hunter Biden wins delay of tax-dodging trial until September

A federal judge agreed to delay the California trial by more than two months but warned that he will not agree to further extensions.

LOS ANGELES (CN) — Hunter Biden secured a reprieve Wednesday as a federal judge in Los Angeles agreed to delay his trial on charges he failed to file taxes on millions of dollars of income until Sept. 5 because of his upcoming June trial in Delaware.

U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi, a Donald Trump appointee, made it abundantly clear to Biden's attorney Abbe Lowell that he won't entertain any further requests to postpone the trial absent an order from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the proceedings.

The trial had been scheduled to start June 20, less than three weeks after Biden is scheduled to go on trial in Delaware on June 3 on charges he lied to buy a gun.

"The 5th will be the 5th," Scarsi said, explaining that he agreed to the postponement because he was concerned that Biden had every opportunity to prepare for the case.

President Joe Biden's son also asked for a temporary restraining order to prevent Special Counsel David Weiss — who brought the indictments both in California and Delaware — from receiving any funding for the prosecution, purportedly in violation of the Appropriation Clause, on the grounds that he was unlawfully appointed.

The judge said he will issue a written ruling on that request, but his comments during the hearing didn't indicate that he saw much merit in that request.

Scarsi noted that the request came long after the cut-off date for the motions to dismiss in which Biden unsuccessfully tried to get the indictment thrown out for the very same reason. He also observed that to get an injunction, Biden had to show he faces irreparable harm if he's denied his request, and there was no case law to support the proposition that going on trial amounted to such irreparable harm.

"What can be more irreparable than standing trial when the prosecutor doesn't have authority and is inappropriately funded," Lowell told the judge. "This is a very unusual case."

Biden, 54, was indicted in December on charges that he engaged in a four-year scheme to not pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for 2016 through 2019 and that he evaded the assessment of taxes for 2018 when he filed false returns in February 2020.

He "spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle rather than paying his tax bills," prosecutors said in the indictment.

Biden, who lives in Southern California, was struggling with addiction at the time and has since paid the IRS all the money he owed. His attorneys have said the two indictments were politically motivated, prompted by Republican lawmakers trying to discredit his father's administration.

Leo Wise, a federal prosecutor with the special counsel's office, argued at Wednesday's hearing that Biden was trying to delay both the trial in California and in Delaware by filing baseless interlocutory appeals. Both trials, according to Wise, are relatively straightforward and shouldn't take long.

"There's a lot of noise around this case, but that doesn't make it complex or challenging," he told the judge. "This is an individual tax payer — it's not complicated."

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Categories / Courts, Criminal, Government

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