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Hunter Biden to be investigated by special council

August 11, 2023

Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced he is appointing a special counsel in the Hunter Biden probe. The development elevates the investigation of the president's son ahead of the 2024 election.

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden
Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe BidenImage: Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

In a surprise announcement, US Attorney General Merrick Garland is appointing a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, who is suspected of engaging in illicit business deals overseas, as President Joe Biden prepares for the 2024 elections.

Garland announced on Friday that David Weiss, the Delaware attorney who has been probing Hunter Biden's financial and business dealings, would be the special counsel. The appointment comes at Weiss's request.

"Upon considering his request, as well as the extraordinary circumstances relating to this matter, I have concluded it is in the public interest to appoint him as special counsel," Garland was quoted as saying.

The appointment gives Weiss additional authority to probe whether the president's son engaged in improper business dealings. 

As per a court filing reported on by the Reuters news agency, Weiss said on Friday that parties in the case are at an impasse in plea negotiations, making a trial in order.

Hunter Biden agrees to plead guilty in tax case: DW reports

What do we know about the case?

Hunter Biden has been involved in a years-long legal ordeal. 

In June, he agreed to plead guilty to federal income tax charges in a deal he made with the US Justice Department that would have allowed him to avert a trial and conviction on a charge related to gun possession in a separate case.

However, the deal fell apart in court last month, when a federal judge expressed concern over the gun charge and uncertainty about whether the agreement gave Hunter Biden protection from future charges.

US District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika, who was appointed by former president Donald Trump, said she was concerned about the language in the plea deal and recommended lawyers discuss it.

Besides the three charges leveled against him, Republicans have accused Hunter Biden in Congress of leveraging his father's political power for gains in dealings with Ukraine and China. Weiss's probe into the accusations had not presented any evidence to support the claims.

rmt/rc (AP, Reuters)