Aug. 18 (UPI) -- A federal judge has formally dismissed the two misdemeanor tax charges against Hunter Biden following last month's surprise collapse of a plea deal.
U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika dismissed the charges at the request of Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss who had asked the court to do so last week after the plea deal fell apart in court as both sides failed to agree on whether its terms stipulated that Hunter Biden would be immune from facing future related charges.
The dismissal allows for Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, to be charged with the same or new offenses that could be tested in trial.
Hunter Biden is the first child of a sitting president to be charged by the Justice Department.
Weiss has been investigating Hunter Biden's taxes and business dealings since the Trump administration, and was allowed to continue doing so after the Biden administration took over in 2021.
In June, it was announced that Hunter Biden would plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges for failing to pay federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018. He also agreed to enter a pretrial diversion agreement to avoid prosecution over possession of a firearm in October 2018 despite knowing it was illegal do so as he was a user of a controlled substance at that time.
That plea deal fell apart late last month, and Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty. The status of the pretrial diversion agreement was unclear.
Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland approved Weiss' request to be named special counsel, freeing up additional resources and affording him additional independence to continue his probe.
Hunter Biden has been at the center of Republican attacks of the sitting president for years, and is the subject of a Republican House investigation that is looking into his international business dealings for alleged illegal activities that they say may involve Joe Biden.