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Plea deal for President Joe Biden's son Hunter collapses in court as judge refuses to sign it off
26 July 2023, 20:02 | Updated: 26 July 2023, 20:26
A proposed plea deal which would have seen Hunter Biden plead guilty to tax charges and admit a gun offence has fallen apart in court as a judge refused to pass it off.
The agreement would have meant Mr Biden, President Joe Biden's son, avoided prison.
But a judge rejected the plea deal in dramatic fashion on Wednesday, telling Mr Biden she could not "rubber stamp the agreement".
He was charged with federal tax and weapons offences several weeks ago.
It is the first time the child of a sitting president has been charged by the US Justice Department.
It follows an investigation that dates back to Donald Trump's administration in 2018.
Under the terms of the plea deal, Mr Biden would have been charged with misdemeanours after failing to pay his taxes on time in across 2017 and 2018.
Mr Biden would have also admitted to illegally owning a gun while taking drugs, agreeing to treatment.
In turn, he would avoided a felony charge, which is more serious, and jail time.
During a hearing on Wednesday, US District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika said the resolution for the possession of a gun was "unusual".
Mr Biden ended the hearing by pleading not guilty instead.
Prosecutors have said their probe into the president's son remains ongoing.
The two parties now have 14 days to hash out a new deal.
"Hunter Biden is a private citizen and this was a personal matter for him," said Joe Biden's press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.