Biden Promises Not To Commute Hunter’s Sentence, Doubles Down on Pledge Not To Pardon Son

‘I said I’d abide by the jury decision. I will do that and I will not pardon him,’ President Biden says.

AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta
President Biden greets his son Hunter Biden at Delaware Air National Guard Base, New Castle, Delaware, June 11, 2024. AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

President Biden pledged he would not commute the sentence of his son Hunter on Thursday, and doubled down on his earlier pledge not to pardon him, either.

Asked during a joint press conference with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, if he’d commute Hunter sentence, the president flatly said, “No.”

The president, speaking from the G-7 summit in Puglia, also reiterated, twice, that he would not pardon Hunter.

“I’m extremely proud of my son Hunter. He has overcome an addiction. He is one of the brightest, most decent men I know,” Mr. Biden said at a press conference Thursday. “I abide by the jury decision. I will do that, and I will not pardon him.”

Hunter Biden, center, President Biden’s son, accompanied by his stepmother, first lady Jill Biden, left, and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, right, walking out of federal court after hearing the verdict, June 11, 2024, at Wilmington, Delaware. Biden was convicted of all 3 felony charges in the federal gun trial.AP/Matt Rourke

Mr. Biden’s son was convicted for lying about his drug use on a form in order to buy a firearm earlier this month, raising speculation about whether his father will choose to pardon him or at the very least commute his sentence but leave the conviction intact.

The younger Biden’s conviction carries with it up to 25 years in prison, though most defendants convicted of those charges would receive a far lighter sentence, and it’s possible Hunter will get no jail time at all.

The president has the power to offer a convicted criminal a full pardon, which absolves them completely of the crime for which they were convicted, and removes the lifelong stigma of a felony conviction. The president can instead offer a commutation, which lifts or partially lifts the penalty imposed on the criminal, such as a prison sentence which can be ended or shortened, but keeps the felony conviction in place.

Although Mr. Biden has previously signaled that he would not pardon his son, speculation swirled after the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, would not confirm that the president would not offer a commutation.

“He is — he’s one of the greatest, most decent men I know, and I am satisfied that I’m not going to do anything I said,” Mr. Biden said of his son. “I said I’d abide by the jury decision. I will do that and I will not pardon him.”


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