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Sweetheart deal? 甜心交易

中国日报网 2023-06-30 15:46


Reader question:

Please explain “sweetheart deal” in this headline question: Did Hunter Biden Get a Sweetheart Deal?

My comments:

In other words, did Hunter Biden get preferential treatment because of father?

In the news, Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, has been in the headlines after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors, potentially avoiding jail time.

Specifically, Hunter Biden was charged with two misdemeanor (meaning minor) tax offenses and a felony (meaning grave) firearm offense.

The plea agreement is a bargain, in a way. By pleading guilty to these charges, prosecutors agree not to look further into the matter, which may lead to discoveries of more serious crime or wrongdoing.

Hence, the question, did Hunter Biden get a sweetheart deal?

In other words, did he get it off lightly because of the influence of his father, Joe Biden?

We’re not going to delve fully into it, so, we have to be satisfied here with getting the expression “sweetheart deal” dealt and done with.

A sweetheart is someone who is loved, of course. A sweetheart deal, therefore, is an agreement made with such a person. It is a sweetened and hard to refuse deal, one that is very generous and beneficial.

Beneficial to the parties involved, that is, but perhaps not to anyone or everyone else. “Sweetheart deal” is mostly a business term. Investopedia explains, as follows:

A sweetheart deal is an agreement of any type that generally consists of one party presenting another party with a proposal so attractive and potentially lucrative that it is difficult to turn down.

Sweetheart deals tend to be secretive in nature and controversial. In many cases, they can be unethical and disadvantage those not privy to it.

In our example, critics are questioning if Hunter Biden got such a favorable deal because of his father, President Joe Biden.

Indeed, did Hunter Biden get a sweetheart deal?

We all would like to know.

For now, let’s be satisfied with learning a new phrase in “sweetheart deal”. Here are a few “sweetheart deal” examples from recent media:

1. On Monday, federal prosecutors unsealed new charges against notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in Manhattan, the latest chapter in a long, sordid saga that has threatened to ensnare presidents, high-powered socialites, and at least one royal. A decade after snagging a sweetheart deal that spared him serious jail time for sex crimes involving teenage girls in Florida, Epstein – a mysteriously wealthy fund manager with pals in high places – was arrested in New Jersey Saturday upon returning from Paris. He has since been charged with sex trafficking and sex-trafficking conspiracy, and pleaded not guilty.

In the 2007-2008 case, Epstein could have ended up in federal prison for the rest of his life. Instead, he served 13 months in Palm Beach County Jail on state prostitution charges, spending 12 hours a day at an office on work release. (He was also required to pay financial settlements with some alleged victims and register as a sex offender.) More importantly, he and four alleged co-conspirators received immunity from federal criminal charges, as documented by a harrowing 2018 Miami Herald expose that reignited demands for justice against Epstein in the age of MeToo.

The aftershocks of the new case against Epstein could lead to charges against employees who, according to the federal indictment against him, helped him prey on victims. It also renewed scrutiny of powerful people who allegedly had sexual encounters in proximity to Epstein and his entourage, and could even force the resignation of former federal prosecutor Alex Acosta, the Trump administration cabinet member critics say helped the financier escape accountability. That the case was being headed by the public corruption unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York also fueled speculation it could reach boldfaced names that have not been previously connected to Epstein.

- Nine People Who Could Be Running Scared After Jeffrey Epstein’s Arrest, Vice.com, July 10, 2019.

2. News broke yesterday about a proposed legal settlement to put to rest many of the lawsuits that the 49ers have filed against the City.

The 49ers have offered what former Santa Clara City Attorney Brian Doyle told the San Francisco Chronicle is a “sweetheart deal.” Here’s the key point from the Chronicle story:

“Doyle said he believes settling the lawsuit would be worth millions of dollars to the 49ers. But because the 49ers have refused to allow the city access to key stadium financial data, one of the issues in the suit, the value can only be estimated.”

According to another report for San Jose Spotlight, the team is offering $3.3 million to settle the lawsuits. The site frequently writes pro-49ers stories.

But the $3.3 million number includes $2 million of police costs that’s already owed to the Stadium Authority.

It also includes $650,000 of money that’s already in the Stadium Authority’s discretionary fund.

So the actual number the 49ers are offering to settle major lawsuits that could return millions to the City is only $650,000. Wow.

- 49er Five Considering Giving Team Another “Sweetheart Deal”, SantaClaraNews.org, August 10, 2022.

3. Republican lawmakers and presidential contenders are not satisfied after federal prosecutors unveiled a plea agreement with the president’s son Hunter Biden after a nearly six-year investigation.

Biden, 53, is copping to two misdemeanor tax evasion charges and one firearm offense, according to a court filing Tuesday in Delaware.

Under the agreement, Biden will be charged but not prosecuted in connection with buying a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver in 2018 when he was abusing drugs.

For years, Republicans have been making a public case that the president’s son committed various crimes that should result in prison time.

“Hunter Biden is getting away with a slap on the wrist when growing evidence uncovered by the House Oversight Committee reveals the Bidens engaged in a pattern of corruption, influence peddling, and possibly bribery,” Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., chair of the House Oversight Committee, tweeted Tuesday.

Comer, armed with subpoena power, has been the lead congressional investigator who has used the megaphone of committee hearings to antagonize President Joe Biden through the 2024 election.

The White House has dismissed allegations against the president as partisan innuendo.

The case and plea deal have political implications as congressional Republicans, joined by former President Donald Trump and other right-leaning activists, have kept a drumbeat for years that Hunter Biden represents a corrupting force in his father’s inner circle.

“Wow! The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere ‘traffic ticket,’” Trump said on Truth Social. “Our system is BROKEN!”


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy didn’t hold back his misgivings about prosecutors’ decision to offer Hunter Biden a plea deal, saying it spotlights a “two-tier” legal justice system when compared with Trump’s federal arraignment a week earlier.

“If you are the president’s leading political opponent, the DOJ tries to literally put you in jail and give you prison time,” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday. “If you are Biden’s son, you get a sweetheart deal.

- ‘Slap on the wrist’: Donald Trump, congressional Republicans call out Hunter Biden plea deal, USAToday.com, June 21, 2023.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣   编辑:丹妮)


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