3rd October 2023 – (New York) Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, formally entered a plea of not guilty to felony gun charges on Tuesday, raising the possibility of a high-profile trial while his father prepares for a reelection bid in the coming year.
Appearing at the federal courthouse in Delaware, where his previous plea deal with prosecutors fell apart over the summer, Hunter Biden indicated his intention to fight the three-count indictment brought by special counsel David Weiss, who was also involved in the failed agreement.
After entering his plea, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, announced plans to file a motion to dismiss the government’s case. He stated that they would challenge the constitutionality of at least one charge and argued that elements of the previous plea agreement still applied.
The judge has set a deadline of November 3rd for the parties to file their motions.
Throughout the hearing, Hunter Biden attentively followed as the judge read the charges, potential penalties, and his rights. He nodded along and responded with “Yes, your honour” when asked if he understood.
In a statement released after the hearing, Lowell highlighted that Weiss initially chose not to pursue charges against his client. Lowell argued that the charges were a result of “political pressure from President Trump and his MAGA allies to force the Justice Department to ignore the law and deviate from its policies.”
Weiss indicted Hunter Biden last month following a lengthy investigation. The probe seemed near completion in June when Weiss’s office reached a plea agreement with Hunter Biden’s legal team.
However, the deal fell apart during questioning by a federal judge in July.
The original agreement would have allowed Hunter Biden to avoid prison time by pleading guilty to misdemeanour tax charges and entering into a diversion agreement for one felony gun charge.
Instead, Hunter Biden now faces three gun charges and potentially additional charges related to taxes in the coming weeks or months. Prosecutors also hinted in court that they may pursue charges linked to Hunter Biden’s overseas business activities, including potential violations of foreign lobbying laws.
Lowell stated on ABC’s “Good Morning America” last month that they believe they have a defence against the gun charges based on the facts.
Initially, Lowell sought to waive Hunter Biden’s court appearance, requesting permission for a video conference plea to minimize the financial impact on government resources and the logistical burden on downtown Wilmington.
However, prosecutors objected to the request, and a federal magistrate judge ultimately ordered Hunter Biden to appear in person.
The hearing takes place as Hunter Biden faces legal battles on multiple fronts. Last week, House Republicans held the first hearing of their impeachment inquiry into President Biden, focusing largely on unproven connections between the president’s political career and his son’s business ventures.
Hunter Biden is also mounting a legal counteroffensive against his most vocal critics and those responsible for circulating personal data allegedly derived from a laptop he reportedly left at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2018.
If found guilty on the three gun-related charges, Hunter Biden could face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. However, the Justice Department has indicated that any sentence would likely fall significantly short of the maximum penalty.