Hunter Biden lawyer promises to ‘vigorously’ contest federal tax charges

<span>Hunter Biden attends the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday.</span><span>Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters</span>
Hunter Biden attends the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday.Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Hunter Biden’s lawyer promised to continue “vigorously” contesting federal tax charges against the president’s son after a California judge rejected an attempt to dismiss them.

“We strongly disagree with the court’s decision and will continue to vigorously pursue Mr Biden’s challenges to the abnormal way the special counsel handled this investigation and charged this case,” Abbe Lowell said, after the judge’s decision.

After a plea agreement to avoid charges fell apart last year, the special counsel, David Weiss, charged Biden nine times, accusing him of evading $1.4m in taxes. Biden pleaded not guilty. He also pleaded not guilty to criminal charges for allegedly lying about addiction issues when purchasing a gun.

Weiss was appointed US attorney for Delaware by Donald Trump, then made a special counsel by Merrick Garland, the US attorney general appointed by Joe Biden.

Hunter Biden has long been the subject of Republican attempts to establish corruption involving his father, culminating in an impeachment effort which after a series of chaotic hearings appears unlikely to succeed.

The president’s son argues that the charges against him are politically motivated, arising from Republican pressure on Weiss. The special counsel rejects such claims.

In California on Monday, a US district court judge, Mark Scarsi, said Biden had provided only “conjecture” rather than “clear evidence”.

“Defendant provides no facts indicating that the government undertook charging decisions in any respect because of public statements by politicians, let alone based on defendant’s familial and political affiliations,” Scarsi wrote.

Biden’s lawyers said Republicans had taken credit for the tax charges.

Scarsi – a Trump appointee – said: “But politicians take credit for many things over which they have no power and have made no impact.”

Biden’s personal struggles remain subject to immense political pressure. In February, he said his own battle to stay clean and sober involved “something much bigger than even myself … a fight for the future of democracy”.

If convicted on the tax charges, he faces up to 17 years in prison. Trial is set for late June. He is also attempting to dismiss the gun charges. If that attempt fails, trial in Delaware is also set for early June.