Hunter Biden indicted on federal gun charges

Washington — Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to his purchase of a firearm in October 2018, while he was a drug user, according to court filings.

The four-page indictment returned by the grand jury convened in Delaware charges Hunter Biden with three felony counts stemming from his possession of a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver in October 2018, which prosecutors previously said he unlawfully possessed for 11 days.

The first count of the indictment alleges that Hunter Biden “knowingly made a false and fictitious written statement” on a form used for firearms purchases. The president’s son certified on the form that he was not an unlawful user of any narcotic drugs, a statement that was “false and fictitious,” according to the charging document.

Hunter Biden allegedly knowingly made a false statement and representation to an unnamed, Wilmington-based firearms dealer, as detailed in the second count of the indictment. He is accused in the third count of the document of knowingly possessing a firearm across the 11-day period despite being an unlawful drug user, in violation of federal law. 

All three counts are felonies, and if convicted, Hunter Biden could face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000. 

The indictment comes after a deal fell apart in July between the government and Hunter Biden’s attorneys over taxes and diversion agreement on a firearms charge. Originally the president’s son had been charged with two separate criminal informations with misdemeanor tax offenses and a felony firearm offense. But in a court hearing that was meant to seal the deal, a federal judge questioned provisions that would have allowed Hunter Biden to avoid prison time. The deal fell apart in real time, and Hunter Biden ultimately pleaded not guilty to the three charges.

Hunter Biden’s attorneys have maintained that the collapse of the plea agreement did not nullify the diversion deal they struck with the government earlier this year. His attorneys have argued that despite this, Hunter Biden has continued to abide by the conditions of the agreement, which include staying clean and sober, as they consider it to still be in effect.

Prosecutors, however, have argued that the diversion agreement was void once the entire plea deal fell apart. Attorneys for Hunter Biden have indicated that they may argue that the diversion agreement was signed by both parties and thus the charges should be dismissed.

The charges are the first brought by special counsel David Weiss in his investigation into Hunter Biden since he was appointed to the position by Attorney General Merrick Garland last month. Weiss said in a court filing earlier this month that he intended to seek an indictment against Hunter Biden before Sept. 29.

Weiss was tapped to serve as the top federal prosecutor in Delaware by former President Donald Trump and has been investigating Hunter Biden since 2018.

If the case goes to trial, it could take place in the midst of Hunter Biden’s father’s 2024 re-election campaign.

The indictment against Hunter Biden follows the opening of an impeachment inquiry by House Republicans into the president over his family’s foreign business dealings. GOP lawmakers have accused Mr. Biden’s son and family members of trying to profit from their access to the then-vice president, though they have yet to uncover direct evidence of wrongdoing by the president.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy claimed Tuesday that Hunter Biden received “special treatment” by his father’s administration.

Mr. Biden has denied any involvement in Hunter Biden’s foreign work, and the White House has repeatedly declined to comment on the special counsel’s investigation into Hunter Biden.

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