A federal judge on Wednesday put on hold a proposed plea deal between Hunter Biden and the Justice Department, questioning the details of the agreement.
The deal would have allowed Hunter Biden to plead guilty to two tax charges in exchange for a sentence of probation. However, Judge Maryellen Noreika of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware expressed concerns about the agreement, particularly a provision that would have granted Hunter Biden immunity from future prosecution.
Noreika said she was concerned that the immunity provision would be unconstitutional, as it would effectively give Hunter Biden a “get out of jail free card” for any future wrongdoing. She also said she was concerned that the agreement would set a bad precedent, as it could discourage other defendants from cooperating with the government.
As a result of Noreika’s concerns, the plea deal was put on hold. The two sides have been ordered to file additional briefs explaining the legal reasoning behind the agreement. Noreika said she will not rule on the deal until she has had a chance to review the briefs.
The decision to put the plea deal on hold is a significant setback for Hunter Biden. The deal had been seen as a way to put the criminal investigation into his past behind him. However, the judge’s concerns have raised new questions about the deal, and it is now unclear whether it will be approved.
The decision to put the plea deal on hold has also been met with criticism from some Republicans. They have accused the Biden administration of interfering in the case, and they have called for Noreika to recuse herself from the case.
Noreika has denied any wrongdoing, and she has said that she will rule on the plea deal fairly and impartially. She has also said that she is not considering recusing herself from the case.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for August 9. At that hearing, Noreika is expected to rule on whether to approve the plea deal.