Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, is expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor felonies and illegal gun possession after a five-year investigation.
US prosecutors in Delaware have filed papers indicating a plea agreement has been reached.
Most likely the terms of the contract will keep him out of jail.
Top Republican lawmakers called it evidence of a “two-tier judicial system.”
In theory, the president’s son could face up to one year in prison for each tax charge and up to 10 years for each gun charge, the Justice Department said in a statement.
He is expected to agree to medication and monitoring as part of the proposed deal.
The final transaction must be approved by the judge in the case, who will also decide his sentence.
It is unclear when Hunter Biden will appear in court to plead guilty to the tax charges.
“He will plead guilty to felony firearm possession as part of a ‘pre-trial conversion agreement,’ which is separate from the plea deal,” his attorney, Chris Clark, said in a statement.
Clark said, “I believe it is important for Hunter to take responsibility for the mistakes he made during his turmoil and addiction.” “He looks forward to recovering and moving on.”
Clark told MSNBC that the terms of his client’s probation are “court-dependent” but expected Biden to be unconditionally released after his court appearance.
Hunter Biden (53) previously worked as a lawyer and lobbyist in foreign countries including China and Ukraine. He was discharged from the US Navy in 2014 after testing positive for cocaine.
The conviction ends a lengthy Justice Department investigation into whether he made false statements on documents he used to purchase firearms in 2018 and properly reported his earnings.
Two misdemeanor tax levies stemming from failure to pay more than $100,000 (£78,000) in both 2017 and 2018. A former Justice Department official told the BBC’s US partner CBS that most subscribers would be charged such an amount. A misdemeanor, but “jail-time coverage”.
The gun charge stems from possession of a firearm as a drug user in 2018.
In the book 2021, a young Mr. Biden admits to heavy cocaine use at the time.
However, he reportedly answered “no” to a federal form that asked whether he was “an illegal user or addict of marijuana or tranquilizers, stimulants, narcotics, or other controlled substances.” Lying on these forms can lead to imprisonment.
The deal comes as some Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates accuse Joe Biden of “weaponizing” the Justice Department against his political opponents.
Hunter Biden has long been under scrutiny from conservatives who have argued that his foreign dealings represent a pattern of corruption.
News of the plea deal was met with swift and forceful criticism from Donald Trump, his campaign, and senior congressional Republicans.
Karolyn Leavitt, a spokeswoman for Trump supporter Make America Great Again Inc., called the agreement a “sweet deal” that would allow the Justice Department to “turn a blind eye” to corruption. President Trump called the deal “an ordinary traffic ticket”.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill that the deal was evidence of a “second class” system of justice and that the case would “strengthen” a separate Republican investigation into Hunter Biden.
Prominent Democrats have remained largely silent on the incident. “The case should be considered closed now that Hunter will not be prosecuted for the baseless and bizarre allegations made by Republican and right-wing media,” David Brock, a former right-wing investigative journalist who became a Democratic operative, said in a statement. It used to stain them for years.”
In a brief statement, the White House also said that Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden “love and support their son as he continues to rebuild his life. We will have no further comment.”
The young Mr. Biden has detailed his hard life and “mass drug addiction,” but he has long denied involvement in illegal activities.
He had first admitted to the investigation in December 2020.
In a statement at the time, he said, “I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I have handled my affairs legally and properly with the assistance of professional tax advisors.”
Mr Clarke said he thought the investigation was now “resolved”, but the Justice Department said in a statement that the investigation was “ongoing”.