A federal judge in Delaware dismissed two tax misdemeanor charges against Hunter Biden that were filed as part of his now-defunct plea deal, paving the way for special counsel David Weiss to potentially bring more charges in another jurisdiction as part of his continuing probe.
After the plea deal collapsed earlier this month, Weiss’ prosecutors asked District Judge Maryellen Noreika to dismiss the charges in Delaware, so new charges could potentially be brought in California or Washington, DC. Hunter Biden’s lawyers agreed that the charges should be dismissed, because they were only brought in Delaware as part of the earlier plea agreement.
Noreika approved the procedural request on Thursday.
The two charges brought in Delaware were misdemeanors, for failing to pay taxes on time in 2017 and 2018. Without a plea deal in-hand, Hunter Biden could potentially face more serious charges: IRS whistleblowers who worked on the case told Congress they recommended charging the president’s son with six federal felonies, including tax evasion and filing false tax returns.
The fate of a separate but related deal to resolve a felony gun possession charge is still unclear.
Prosecutors say the deal never went into effect. Hunter Biden’s lawyers say it is still valid and binding. It is up to Noreika to decide the status of that deal, which called for prosecutors to drop the gun charge in two years if Hunter Biden stayed out of legal trouble and passed drug tests.
Weiss, now with special counsel status, is continuing the investigation.
At the July 26 court hearing where the plea deal started to unravel, a prosecutor in the case told the judge that the probe into Hunter Biden’s potential foreign lobbying violations continued and more charges potentially could be brought. That part of the investigation into potential violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, led by the FBI, has been part of the Hunter Biden probe for years.
CNN’s Evan Perez contributed to this report.