A federal grand jury in California indicted Hunter Biden on nine counts Thursday, accusing him of failing to pay his taxes on millions of dollars he earned from foreign business ventures.
The indictment alleges a four-year scheme involving millions in unpaid self-assessed taxes, false tax returns, and a lavish lifestyle.
It also directly addresses Biden's documented drug issues, which factor into the collapse of a potential plea deal that offered him broad immunity from future prosecution.
Special counsel David Weiss said in a statement Hunter Biden "spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle rather than paying his tax bills."
The charges are centered on at least $1.4 million in taxes Hunter Biden owed between 2016 and 2019, a period where he has acknowledged struggling with addiction. The back taxes have since been paid.
If convicted, Hunter Biden, 53, the second son of President Joe Biden, could receive a maximum of 17 years in prison. The special counsel probe remains open, Weiss said.
The new charges filed Thursday — three felonies and six misdemeanors — are in addition to federal firearms charges in Delaware alleging Hunter Biden broke laws against drug users having guns in 2018. They come after the implosion of a plea deal over the summer that would have spared him jail time, putting the case on track to a possible trial as his father campaigns for reelection.
In a fiery response, defense attorney Abbe Lowell accused Weiss of "bowing to Republican pressure" in the case.
"Based on the facts and the law, if Hunter's last name was anything other than Biden, the charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought," Lowell said in a statement.
The White House declined to comment on Thursday's indictment, referring questions to the Justice Department or Hunter Biden's personal representatives.
The indictment comes as congressional Republicans pursue an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, claiming he was engaged in an influence-peddling scheme with his son. The House is expected to vote next week on formally authorizing the inquiry.
"The House has no choice if it's going to follow its constitutional responsibility to formally adopt an impeachment inquiry on the floor so that when the subpoenas are challenged in court, we will be at the apex of our constitutional authority," House Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters.
Questions have arisen about the ethics surrounding the Biden family's international business. House lawmakers insist their evidence paints a troubling picture of "influence peddling" in the Biden family's business dealings, particularly with clients overseas.
After issuing subpoenas to obtain Biden family associates' bank records, Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the chairman of The House Oversight Committee issued subpoenas for Hunter and James Biden's personal and business bank records.
As CBN News reported in May, Republican members of that committee laid out their concerns about a global web of Biden family funding. The 36-page memorandum alleges that foreign businessmen sent millions in wire transfers to numerous limited liability companies that then transferred the cash to bank accounts of at least nine Biden family members. Much of the money came from China.
President Biden on Wednesday dismissed as "lies" claims that he behaved illegally or unethically regarding the business dealings of his son.
"I'm not going to comment on it," Biden said responding to a question from a reporter from the New York Post. "I did not. It's just a bunch of lies. They're lies."
President's Son Responds to Congressional Subpoena
Hunter Biden has offered to testify publicly before Congress after being subpoenaed early last month to appear before the House Oversight Committee for a closed-door deposition. His uncle James Biden has also been subpoenaed, as well as former business associate Rob Walker.
Comer said the president's son could testify publicly in the future, but he expects him to sit for a deposition on Dec. 13 as outlined in the subpoena.
But in Hunter Biden's response to the committee, Lowell told the lawmakers in a letter the reason his client wanted to testify in public. Closed-door sessions, he said, can be used to "manipulate" the facts with "selective leaks."
House Republicans warned the president's son on Wednesday that they will move to hold him in contempt of Congress if he doesn't appear for a closed-door deposition. Hunter Biden has insisted that he will only testify to the House if it's in public. But in a letter sent to his attorney Wednesday, top Republicans told him that their subpoena for a closed-door deposition on Dec. 13 is non-negotiable.
"Contrary to the assertions in your letter, there is no 'choice' for Mr. Biden to make," Comer and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote.