Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal and Donald Trump’s Defense

Gun Rights
Hunter Biden, wearing a black coat and gray pants, walking towards a black SUV on an airplane tarmac. Someone is holding the door open for him to enter.
The deal would most likely resolve the investigation without Hunter Biden facing a federal prison sentence.Al Drago for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Hunter Biden Likely to Avoid Prison in Deal” (front page, June 21):

The criminal travails of former President Donald Trump and President Biden’s son Hunter are giving us attorneys a couple of new defenses to use in representing clients charged with serious offenses.

The ex-president’s explanation for the purloining and maintenance of classified and sensitive national security documents, given right after his federal indictment: He was too “busy” to comply with the law. He doubled down on that Monday night in an uncharacteristically probing interview on Fox News, claiming that he was “very busy.”

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Hunter Biden fended off serious sanctions for nonpayment of taxes and improper gun possession by asserting that his conduct was due to drug addiction, a bromide that is often raised in criminal proceedings but rarely applied to tax evasion and gun possession charges.

So, add “too busy” to follow the law and drug addiction to the stack of justifications for serious wrongful behavior. If it works for these top-tier criminal defendants, it ought to be applied to lesser ones, too.

Marshall H. Tanick

To the Editor:

Your headline “Hunter Biden Likely to Avoid Prison in Deal” implies, wrongly, that he was treated leniently, when in fact his prosecution for delayed payment of taxes contrasts sharply with the fact that others, most prominently Roger Stone, never even faced criminal charges for similar conduct. The false statements on his application for a gun also would not prompt criminal prosecution absent evidence of violent behavior.

Far from getting favored treatment, Hunter Biden was prosecuted solely because he is his father’s son.

Ursula Bentele
New York
The writer is professor emerita at Brooklyn Law School.

To the Editor:

I have some questions for congressional Republicans who complain that Hunter Biden got a “sweetheart deal” because he escaped prosecution on a felony gun charge and received only probation on a tax charge.

Is it now your official position that gun owners who are not completely truthful when filling out a government form asking questions to determine their right to own a gun be sentenced to prison? If so, will you make that position known to the National Rifle Association?

And is it also your position that anyone who fails to file taxes on time or commits tax fraud should have to serve time? If so, will you publicly state that position at campaign rallies?

Michael Esterowitz

To the Editor:

I could not disagree more with Republicans who claim there is a double standard regarding Hunter Biden. Without question Donald Trump could cut a deal with the special prosecutor.

Richard Lenter
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

The New York Times

To the Editor:

In “A 20-Foot Sea Wall Is Not the Answer for New York City” (Opinion guest essay, June 18), Robert Yaro and Daniel Gutman suggest a barrier at the mouth of New York Harbor as a panacea for coastal flooding. It would be anything but.

The writers do not cite the cost of this project, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated at a staggering $112 billion. They do not note that it will take more than a decade longer to build than the landside barriers the corps has recommended. And it is all or nothing: Until the barrier is complete, New York would have no protection whatsoever.

Their images of terrible flood walls present only one design approach to landside barriers, and one New York City opposes. Rather, we support designs that include water access and economic activity, such as our own East Side Coastal Resiliency project.

Flood prevention and waterfront access are not mutually exclusive.

Rohit T. Aggarwala
New York
The writer is the chief climate officer for New York City and commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Doug Chayka

To the Editor:

Re “Nonprofit Hospice Care Appears to Have Upper Hand” (The New Old Age, Science Times, June 13):

Paula Span’s detailed examination of the for-profit hospice industry, valued at $22 billion, highlights the substandard care and lack of compassion experienced by patients in their critical end-of-life moments.

New York State is taking action by introducing Assembly Bill 6032, aimed at restricting the expansion of for-profit hospices across the state and preventing existing providers from increasing their capacity.

This legislation sets an example for other states considering similar measures to regulate the for-profit hospice industry. A recent report from the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation reveals that nonprofit hospice centers offer superior care compared with their for-profit counterparts. Nonprofit centers provide patients with 10 percent more nurse visits, 35 percent more visits from social workers, and double the number of therapy visits per day.

As the C.E.O. of a nonprofit hospice caregiver in New York State, I endorse this legislation. My support is not driven by profit concerns but rather a desire to ensure that all New Yorkers receive the care they deserve during their end-of-life journey.

Cara Pace
New City, N.Y.
The writer is C.E.O. of United Hospice.

Dance, one of the men in Chino said, goes against prison-culture codes of masculinity. From left, Webb, Griffin and Bolin (with beard).Michael Tyrone Delaney for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Freed Bodies in a Place of Confinement,” by Brian Seibert (Arts & Leisure, June 11):

Thank you for this extraordinarily insightful and heartwarming article. It is wonderful to learn that California has been experimenting with using creative dance as a means of enabling prison inmates to express their emotions, develop caring connections with other people and gain self-respect.

While the California prison’s dance therapy program is successful for these reasons alone, it is even more strikingly successful because of its stunning apparent effect on recidivism.

The normal California recidivism rate exceeds 65 percent in three years. But Mr. Seibert reports that “none of the more than 100 Words Uncaged participants who have been released from prison have been reincarcerated,” according to a professor who founded the organization. That is, the recidivism rate for inmates who participated in this dance program is zero percent!

That degree of success is phenomenal. California’s prison dance program warrants widespread study and consideration by states all around the country.

Gary M. Ratner
Bethesda, Md.

To the Editor:

With the recent wave of vandalism and destruction of Pride flags in public places, including the Stonewall National Monument in Manhattan, why don’t plainclothes police officers and security officers guard these areas during nighttime hours — at least for limited periods of time?

This vandalism is an attack on the gay community, but it is also an attack on the entire community. Too often we let criminals off the hook by treating hate crimes as a result of ignorance that can be overcome by educational and instructional tools. What is needed are arrests and criminal prosecutions.

Michael J. Gorman
The writer is a retired New York Police Department lieutenant and an attorney.

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