WILMINGTON, Del. – Hunter Biden is expected back in a Delaware courtroom on Tuesday, where he is expected to plead not guilty to federal firearms charges that surfaced after his previous contract collapsed.
The president’s son is accused of lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a gun purchase form that he kept for about 11 days.
He admits he suffered from a crack cocaine addiction during that time, but his lawyers said he did not break the law. Gun possession charges like these are rare, and an appeals court has found that banning drug users from owning guns violates the Second Amendment under the Supreme Court’s new standards.
Hunter Biden’s lawyers believe prosecutors caved to pressure from Republicans who insisted the president’s son got a sweet deal and that the charges were the result of political pressure.
He was charged after his deal with federal prosecutors on tax and weapons charges collapsed this summer. The deal came about after the judge who was supposed to sign the agreement instead asked a series of questions about the deal. Federal prosecutors had been investigating his business dealings for five years and the agreement would have eliminated the need for criminal proceedings before his father actively ran for president in 2024.
Now a special investigator has been assigned to handle the case, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy end in sight. No new tax assessments have been filed yet, but the special counsel has suggested they could be filed in California or Washington.
In Congress, House Republicans are trying to tie Hunter Biden’s business dealings to his father’s through an impeachment inquiry. Republicans have been investigating Hunter Biden for years, ever since his father was vice president. While questions have arisen about the ethics surrounding the Biden family’s international business dealings, there is no evidence to date that Joe Biden abused his role or accepted bribes in his current or previous office.
The legal battle could stretch into 2024, with Republicans eager to divert attention from the numerous criminal charges against Republican front-runner Donald Trump, whose trials could take place at the same time.
After years of silence, Hunter Biden has taken a more aggressive legal stance in recent weeks, filing a series of lawsuits over the leak of personal information allegedly from his laptop and tax records by IRS whistleblowers testifying before Congress had GOP probe.
The president’s son, who has not held public office, is charged with two counts of making false statements and one count of illegal possession of weapons, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. After the failed deal, he would have pleaded guilty and served probation instead of prison for tax violations and avoided prosecution on a single firearms charge if he had stayed out of trouble for two years.
Defense attorneys have argued that he remains protected by an immunity provision that was part of the failed plea agreement, but prosecutors under the supervision of special counsel David Weiss disagree. Weiss also serves as the U.S. attorney for Delaware and was originally appointed by Trump.
Hunter Biden, who lives in California, had asked for Tuesday’s hearing to be conducted remotely via video feed, but U.S. Judge Christopher Burke sided with prosecutors and said there would be no “special treatment.”