White House says Biden won’t pardon son for tax and firearms charges

The White House on Thursday said President Joe Biden would not use his authority as president to grant any pardons or other relief that would short-circuit the criminal case against his son, Hunter Biden.

The younger Mr Biden, an attorney and lobbyist turned visual artist, is currently facing two misdemeanour charges for allegedly failing to pay taxes for two years, as well as a felony charge for allegedly lying on a gun background check form.

During Thursday’s daily White House press briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked if his father, the president, would consider pardoning his only surviving son.

Ms Jean-Pierre replied: “No”.

Federal prosecutors and attorneys for President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden had previously settled on a deal for the lawyer and lobbyist turned artist to plead guilty to tax misdemeanour charges and enter into a diversion programme on a gun-related charge, but the judge overseeing the case demanded more information from both sides during a hearing at a Wilmington, Delaware courthouse on Wednesday.

US District Judge Maryellen Noreika ordered attorneys from both sides to file briefs with the court on a provision of the diversion agreement which she had questioned because it raised separation of powers concerns, or modify the agreement to exclude the provision she questioned.

The agreement, which she had reviewed, said that she would be responsible for deciding if Mr Biden was ever in breach of the agreement. She suggested that such a role would be improper for her because it is the executive branch, through prosecutors, which makes charging decision.

Because Mr Biden had to enter a plea at his court appearance, he has pleaded not guilty while attorneys from both sides confer to make the agreement comply with the judge’s concerns. He will be able to enter a guilty plea when his attorneys and prosecutors have settled on language for a deal.

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