Back-to-back Hunter Biden trial schedule gets spaced out as California judge delays

A federal judge in California postponed Hunter Biden’s trial on tax charges from June 20 to Sept. 5 because it would have fallen just after his other trial in Delaware on gun charges.

U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi changed the date Wednesday after Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, asked for more time to prepare for the second trial. Both trials resulted from a plea deal that collapsed last July that would have resolved both cases and likely kept President Joe Biden's son out of prison.

The weeklong trial on tax charges is set to begin June 3.

Biden's team "require(s) a small amount of additional time to adequately prepare for trial in order to provide adequate and effective counsel to Mr. Biden,” Lowell wrote in his request. “This is especially true due to the uniquely challenging and high-profile nature of this case, as well as the fact Mr. Biden and the same counsel will be starting trial in Delaware just two and a half weeks before this trial is set to begin.”

Biden’s legal troubles have become a political lightning rod for his father this election year. President Joe Biden is scheduled to debate former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, on Sept. 10.

Prosecutors opposed delaying Hunter Biden tax trial

Justice Department special counsel David Weiss’ team had opposed the delay. Leo Wise, the principal senior assistant special counsel, said the only thing that had changed since Lowell agreed to the trial date is that he “lost all his motions” and unsuccessful appeals were dismissed in both jurisdictions.

The plea agreement would have allowed Biden to plead guilty to two misdemeanors for failing to pay his taxes in 2017 and 2018, and to enter a pretrial program for a gun charge that could have been dismissed if he complied.

But U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika in Delaware refused to accept the deal because of disputes between prosecutors and defense lawyers over whether it protected Biden from potential future charges. Congressional Republicans blasted the plea agreement as too lenient.

What charges does Hunter Biden face?

In the tax case in California, Biden is charged with three felony tax offenses and six misdemeanors. He allegedly engaged in a scheme in which he failed to pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed taxes from 2016 through 2019, and also evaded tax assessment for 2018 when he filed false returns, according to the indictment.

In the gun case in Delaware, the indictment charges Biden with knowingly deceiving a firearms dealer by buying a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver on Oct. 12, 2018. He is charged with falsely filling out a federal form denying he was addicted to any narcotics. And he is charged with knowingly possessing the revolver despite the restrictions against people addicted to drugs owning firearms.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California federal judge postpones Hunter Biden tax trial to Sept. 5