Hunter Biden pleads not guilty to federal gun charges out of Special Counsel David Weiss’ probe

WILMINGTON, DE—Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to federal gun charges in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware Tuesday morning after being charged out of Special Counsel David Weiss’ years-long investigation. 

The president’s son appeared in person in court for his arraignment Tuesday morning after being charged with making a false statement in the purchase of a firearm; making a false statement related to information required to be kept by a federal firearms licensed dealer; and one count of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance. 

With all counts combined, the total maximum prison time for the charges could be up to 25 years. Each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. 

Biden pleaded not guilty to all three charges. 

Magistrate Judge Christopher Burke presided over the hearing and laid out the conditions for Hunter Biden’s release, which require the president’s son to seek employment and communicate all international travel plans. Biden also is prohibited from possessing a firearm and using alcohol and drugs, and he is required to get drug tested randomly and participate in a substance abuse counseling program. 

Burke said the conditions are ‘appropriate,’ and both the government and defense agreed. 

Burke explained that both the government and the defense have a deadline of Nov. 3, 2023, to file any motions. 

Hunter Biden defense attorney Abbe Lowell notified Burke that the defense plans to file a motion to dismiss, due to the diversion agreement on the gun charges, which he said he believes is still in effect.

The diversion agreement was included as part of the original plea deal that collapsed in July. Biden was set to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax, which would allow him to avoid jail time on a felony gun charge. That deal fell apart during his last court appearance. The president’s son, in July, was then forced to plead not guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and one felony gun charge when the deal collapsed in court. 

The federal gun charges are the first charges Weiss has brought against Hunter since being granted special counsel status by Attorney General Merrick Garland in August. 

Lowell also said the defense’s motion to dismiss would include an argument regarding the constitutionality of the statutes that, he said, have been discussed. Lowell added that he will also be making a request for an evidentiary hearing. 

The government was represented by federal prosecutors Leo Wise and Derek Hines. Weiss was not present. 

According to the indictment, ‘on or about October 12, 2018, in the District of Delaware, the defendant, Robert Hunter Biden, in connection with the acquisition of a firearm, that is, a Colt Cobra 38SPL Revolver with serial number RA 551363…knowingly made a false and fictitious written statement, intended and likely to deceive that dealer with respect to a fact material to the lawfulness of the sale of the firearm…in that the defendant, Robert Hunter Biden, provided a written statement on Form 4473 certifying he was not an unlawful user of, and addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, and any other controlled substance, when in fact, as he knew, that statement was false and fictitious.’ 

The indictment also states that ‘on or about October 12, 2018, through on or about October 23, 2018, in the District of Delaware, the defendant Robert Hunter Biden, knowing that he was an unlawful user of and addicted to any stimulant, narcotic drug, and any other controlled substance…did knowingly possess a firearm, that is, a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver with serial number RA 551363, said firearm having been shipped and transported in interstate commerce.’ 

Fox News first reported in 2021 that police had responded to an incident in 2018, when a gun owned by Hunter was thrown into a trash can outside a market in Delaware.

A source with knowledge of the Oct. 23, 2018, police report told Fox News that it indicated that Hallie Biden, who is the widow of President Biden’s late son, Beau, and who was in a relationship with Hunter at the time, threw a gun owned by Hunter in a dumpster behind a market near a school.

A firearm transaction report reviewed by Fox News indicated that Hunter purchased a gun earlier that month.

On the firearm transaction report, Hunter answered in the negative when asked if he was ‘an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.’

Hunter was discharged from the Navy in 2014 after testing positive for cocaine.

His attorneys, who initially requested for the court appearance to take place via video conference, had signaled last month that he would plead not guilty to the charges.  Burke rejected Hunter’s request, saying he should not receive special treatment. 

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