On Thursday, September 14th, Hunter Biden, son of United States President Joe Biden, was indicted on three federal firearms-related charges. This follows the collapse of a plea deal that would have averted a criminal trial, marking the first-ever prosecution of a sitting president’s child.
The indictment, filed in a Delaware federal court, revolves around the possession of a firearm while under the influence of narcotics. Specifically, Biden is accused of lying about his drug use when purchasing a firearm in October 2018, a time when he openly admitted to battling an addiction to crack cocaine. The charges could see the courtroom drama unfold in the midst of the 2024 US presidential campaign, potentially complicating President Joe Biden’s re-election bid.
The indictment alleges that Hunter Biden falsely claimed he was not using illegal drugs when he bought a .38-caliber Colt Cobra Special revolver. He faces two counts of making false statements and a third count for possessing the firearm while being a drug user. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison, although actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less severe.
In addition to the firearms charges, Hunter Biden has been under scrutiny for his business ventures. The special counsel overseeing the case has hinted that tax-related charges might be filed either in Washington or California, where Biden resides.
Previously, a plea deal had been in place that would have seen Biden plead guilty to misdemeanor tax charges while avoiding the gun charge. However, this agreement disintegrated during a court hearing in July due to concerns raised by a judge. Hunter Biden’s defense insists that part of the deal, which includes immunity against potential future charges, is still valid. Yet, prosecutors argue that the agreement never became effective and is now void.
The legal proceedings come at a time when the political landscape is also tumultuous. The House of Representatives has initiated an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, attempting to link him to his son’s business activities, as announced by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. This move is seen by many as an effort to divert attention from former President Donald Trump’s legal challenges, including federal indictments related to classified documents and attempts to reverse his 2020 election defeat.
While Republicans have criticized the plea agreement that would have spared Hunter Biden from jail time, they have yet to produce substantial evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden. The White House continues to assert that President Biden was not involved in his son’s business dealings.