Eugene Gorokhov is a partner Burnham & Gorokhov PLLC and is familiar with federal plea deals. His practice centers on federal criminal defense with a special focus on white collar matters. Eugene, good morning and welcome to morning rush. So how common is it that we see a plea deal like this, I mean, completely fall apart for whatever the reason is.
Good morning. These plea deals typically go through because the result of hard work on the part of both sides. And so when you have something like this happen, it’s it’s quite rare. The most common circumstances when a plea deal falls apart is when the judge is not convinced that defendant fully understands every provision of the plea deal. And that’s essentially a big part of what happened here is that there was I hang up on this immunity provision of the plea deal. And we know that’s a big deal because Hunter Biden’s attorneys came out about a month ago saying, this is all over signed a deal that pretty much puts an end all the investigations. And as we found out yesterday, that’s not the case at all. The parties disagree on that and that’s a big deal. And it’s a good thing the judge caught that.
So is the root issue here, essentially that, when they mention immunity provision is that Hunter Biden’s team wanted yesterday to be here’s the plea deal, I’m clean, it’s done, it’s over, where the U.S. Attorney was saying, no, we still may investigate you for other things. In fact, in terms of any other legal liability, you may have that remains an open question and Hunter and his team wanted to be closed and have this over with. Is that a fair summation? That was the sticking point here?
That’s exactly right. Again, we know was because, you know, Hunter Biden’s attorneys made a very public announcement about that. And that’s understandable. You know, you’re going into federal court. You’re giving up valuable rights, your pleading guilty to serious offenses and you want some assurance. One of the benefits of a plea deal is the assurance that this is kind of going to be it. And you know what to expect. And you know, I think the judge was very sharp and in fact, was doing her job when she honed on on kind of the sticking point And as I said before, that it’s a big deal.
Essentially, she grilled them. The judge here, a Trump appointee, grilled them for about 3 hours on nearly every aspect of the deal. I want to make clear that this scene fundamentally to be a massive miscommunication between the legal teams, not necessarily a curve ball from by the judge herself.
That’s exactly right. The judge was just doing her job. That’s one of the fundamental points of a plea hearing is to ensure that there’s an accurate understanding about all of the provisions of the deal because, again, but when especially defendants signs a plea deal, they’re giving up very valuable, rights. She was doing her job and from everything I understand she was doing it very well.
So the prosecution is now looking to add charges of foreign lobbying in this case. How serious are those charges on top of what he’s already dealing with? How is that going to change the case?
Well, it’s going to throw a lot of uncertainty into the case. I mean, these charges could be very serious. You might remember a few years back the case of Paul Manafort who was prosecuted, not in one, but in two separate federal cases. So it’s potentially extremely serious. I think the deal that Hunter Biden got that he prepared to plead guilty to yesterday was a very favorable deal. I’m not saying that in a bad way. I just think his attorneys did on paper a very good job. You don’t typically see an individual with a federal gun charge, get diversion on that, especially when there are other charges. I’m the tax charges and he’s getting a recommendation for probation on those. So, yeah, the fact that they thought the foreign lobbying thing was wrapped up and it’s not it’s a big problem for him.
Well, you can imagine, Hunter wanted this behind him. The president wants this behind him for political reasons and personal reasons. It is his son. And Republicans, meantime will have a field day with this because the problems are not over.
Eugene Gorokhov thank you so much for joining us.