Special counsel prosecutors are using a Los Angeles grand jury to seek documents and possible testimony from multiple witnesses as part of the ongoing federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings, according to people familiar with the probe.
James Biden, President Joe Biden’s brother and a one-time business associate of Hunter, is among the individuals who have received a subpoena in recent weeks, according to two sources close to the investigation.
The probe appears to be focused on Hunter Biden’s alleged failure to pay taxes by IRS payment deadlines, issues that were expected to be resolved by a plea deal that fell apart earlier this year. It is unclear if any witnesses have appeared in person yet or if investigators are looking at anything beyond tax matters. Hunter Biden’s legal team has said their client has now “fully paid” his IRS tax debts.
The use of a grand jury in California’s central district, which has not previously been reported, indicates special counsel David Weiss may be preparing to seek new charges against Hunter Biden.
Weiss already has brought gun charges against Hunter Biden in Delaware, and presenting charges to a grand jury in California would mean that he is preparing to try the president’s son in two separate venues.
Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, declined to comment. Counsel for James Biden declined to comment.
The White House referred questions on the matter to the Justice Department, where a spokesperson declined to comment.
Prosecutors working under Weiss told a judge earlier this year that in addition to tax charges, they could also bring charges related to possible violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act. Internal Revenue Service investigators who were part of the Hunter Biden investigation have alleged that the prosecutors slow-walked and blocked efforts to look into possible money laundering and foreign lobbying allegations.
The FBI, which oversaw the money laundering and FARA portions of the investigation, concluded its findings and didn’t anticipate charges to emerge from those allegations, people briefed on the matter told CNN.
Weiss has previously used a federal grand jury in Delaware to gather evidence as part of the investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings and his failure to pay taxes over a period of years, people briefed on the investigation said. Prosecutors brought multiple witnesses to testify to the grand jury in Wilmington last year before striking the now-defunct plea deal with Biden.
Some of the tax offenses under investigation allegedly occurred in southern California, where Hunter Biden lives.
It’s possible for the special counsel to use evidence collected previously by a federal grand jury in Delaware in a different federal court. That information can be shared with a new grand jury by investigative agents, or the grand jury could hear from witnesses directly before being asked to consider voting on potential charges.
“The Government, in the exercise of its prosecutorial discretion, is considering what tax charges to bring in another district and may elect to bring the same charges set forth in the instant information or different ones,” Weiss’ team wrote in an August court filing in Delaware.
One month earlier, a plea deal had fallen apart for Hunter Biden to admit to two misdemeanor charges of willfully failing to pay more than $100,000 in taxes to the IRS in 2018 and 2019. Weiss’ team told the judge in Delaware it was withdrawing its case there, as the prosecutors looked at bringing charges elsewhere.
Republican members of Congress are also attempting to gather information on the Biden family’s business dealings as part of their effort to impeach the president over allegations that his family used its influence to earn money from foreign nationals.
Earlier this month, the Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee subpoenaed Hunter Biden, James Biden, and Rob Walker, an associate of the family, to sit for depositions. Republicans have claimed that James and Hunter Biden touted their access to the politically powerful Joe Biden to land lucrative business deals. As part of those deals, Hunter and James sent money through shell companies to one another, Republicans allege.
Weiss indicted Hunter Biden in September on three charges related to his purchase of a gun from a shop in Delaware in 2018 at a time prosecutors say he was an illegal drug user. He has pleaded not guilty in the gun possession and false statements case.
CNN’s Marshall Cohen and Kara Scannell contributed to this report.
For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com