Judge sets July 26 court date for Hunter Biden's initial court appearance

ByLucien Bruggeman ABCNews logo
Wednesday, June 21, 2023

A federal judge on Wednesday set a court date of July 26 for Hunter Biden to make his initial court appearance related to the plea deal he agreed to Tuesday, following a five-year Justice Department investigation.

The hearing was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika of the District of Delaware, hours after she was assigned to the case.

Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, agreed to a plea deal regarding a pair of tax-related misdemeanors and a pretrial diversion agreement on a felony gun charge. Noreika will have the power to either approve or reject the plea agreement prosecutors brokered with Hunter Biden's legal team.

Noreika was appointed to the federal bench by President Donald Trump, but in the past has supported presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle.

Despite her appointment by a Republican, Noreika's nomination was initially endorsed by two Democratic U.S. lawmakers, Delaware Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper, according to paperwork Noreika filed as part of her confirmation process.

She has in the past has contributed to both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, giving $2,500 to Mitt Romney in 2012, $2,300 to John McCain in 2008 and $1,000 to Hillary Clinton the same year, according to campaign disclosure filings.

Noreika also donated several thousand dollars to Tom Cotton's Senate campaign between 2013 and 2014, and $1,000 to Rick Santorum's Senate campaign in 2005.

She has not made any federal political contributions in the last nine years.

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Noreika attended Lehigh University and Columbia University before enrolling at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, where she graduated summa cum laude in 1993. She spent more than 25 years in private practice in Wilmington, Delaware, where her practice focused on patent law, before her nomination to the district court in 2017.

As part of his plea deal, the younger Biden will acknowledge his failure to pay taxes on income he received in 2017 and 2018, according to the agreement. For the gun charge, he will agree to pretrial diversion, with the charge being dropped if he adheres to certain terms.

He will likely avoid jail time if Noreika signs off on the deal.

The agreement would potentially end a yearslong probe by the Justice Department, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

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