The son of US President Joe Biden, Hunter, pleaded not guilty to tax fraud on Thursday January 11 in a federal court in Los Angeles, in the western United States, American media reported.

Indicted in December for evading through a “scheme” the obligation to pay $1.4 million (1.3 million euros) in taxes owed for the tax period from 2016 to 2019, according to prosecutors , Hunter Biden is targeted by nine counts.

This brief appearance took place the day after a parliamentary hearing which turned into a free-for-all in Washington, when Hunter Biden unexpectedly attended to protest against the attitude of the Republicans, who launched in September an impeachment inquiry against the American president.

Hunter Biden, 53, a businessman now converted to painting, who says he has overcome his drug and alcohol addictions, is one of the favored targets of his father’s Republican opponents, who consider him to be the Achilles heel of the Democratic president. They accuse the latter, without having so far provided proof, of corruption and of having benefited from his son’s controversial affairs in Ukraine and China, when he was vice-president of Barack Obama (2009-2017) .

“Let me say this as clearly as possible, my father was never financially involved in my affairs,” Hunter Biden assured Congress on December 13, in a serious tone.

He faces 17 years in prison.

On Wednesday, two congressional committees dominated by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives recommended that Hunter Biden be found guilty of obstructing the investigative powers of Congress for refusing to participate in a closed hearing on his financial interests in the foreigner. He demands a public hearing. During one of the hearings, one of the Republican elected officials called Hunter Biden a “coward,” showing scabrous photos of him, while another called him “the embodiment of white privilege.”

“What they are doing to Hunter is cruel,” responded Jill Biden, the wife of the American president, during an interview with MSNBC on Thursday.

On the tax front, the justice accuses him of having “spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle instead of paying his taxes”, according to the indictment, which mentions his drug use, as well as payments to afford the company of “escorts”, luxury cars and clothes. Hunter Biden faces up to 17 years in prison in this case.

He is also charged in another case in Delaware (East), for illegal possession of a firearm. He could therefore potentially be tried twice in 2024, while his father is campaigning for re-election.

He reached a guilty plea agreement in June covering both tax evasion and illegal firearm acquisition charges, which likely would have allowed him to avoid prison and an embarrassing trial for him and his father. But this agreement was canceled following doubts expressed in July by a judge about its validity.