Hunter Biden pleads not guilty on firearms charges

President Joe Biden's son pleaded not guilty to charges of buying firearms without disclosing his drug abuse, making a full trial more likely

Hunter Biden and prosecutors initially struck a plea deal, but that fell apart leading to the possibility of a trial during the 2024 election campaign (photo: DW)
Hunter Biden and prosecutors initially struck a plea deal, but that fell apart leading to the possibility of a trial during the 2024 election campaign (photo: DW)


Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, 3 October to charges of illegally possessing a firearm.

The 53-year-old appeared at a federal court in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

The charges go back to his purchase of a .38-caliber Colt Cobra revolver in 2018 during a time when he has since said he was addicted to drugs.

What are the charges against Hunter Biden?

The charges include two counts of making false statements due to him writing in the forms that he was not using illegal drugs at the time of purchase and another count of illegal possession of the weapon.

Biden got rid of the gun 11 days after he first bought it.

His lawyers have argued that Biden did not break the law, pointing to the rarity of such cases and recent Supreme Court standards that found a ban on allowing drug users to possess firearms was an apparent violation of their Second Amendment rights to own weapons.

Lawyer Abbe Lowell had requested that Biden be allowed to appear in court via video instead of traveling from his home in California all the way across the country with his Secret Service contingent.

But Judge Christopher Burke refused, saying, "The defendant should not receive any special treatment in this matter."

If convicted, Biden could in theory face up to 25 years in prison. However, in practice, such charges rarely result in a prison sentence.

He almost avoided the firearms charges thanks to a plea made with federal prosecutor David Weiss which would have seen him plead guilty to two tax charges in exchange for the former charges being dropped. But this fell apart in July.

Republicans use Biden to attack his father

US Republicans have accused him of being involved in wrongdoing in Ukraine and China and have made the younger Biden a focus in their attacks against the president.

An impeachment inquiry that was launched in the House of Representatives has attempted to connect Joe Biden with his son's scandals, although they have not provided any evidence for their claims.

The president has consistently said that he stands by his son and supports him in his attempts to get over his drug addiction.

Hunter Biden has never held any position in his father's administration.

At the same time, the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 presidential election, former President Donald Trump, is himself facing four criminal trials. Two are connected to his continued false claims that his 2020 election loss was due to fraud.

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Published: 04 Oct 2023, 2:33 PM
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