Hunter Biden Indicted for Illegal Gun Possession
The charges come as the president faces an impeachment inquiry stemming from his son’s foreign business dealings.
President Biden’s embattled son, Hunter, has been indicted on three counts related to his purchase of a handgun in 2018 when he was in the throes of cocaine and alcohol addiction.
The charges were brought by Special Counsel David Weiss, who, in his capacity as Delaware’s United States attorney, investigated the younger Mr. Biden for more than five years. Two of the charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, while the third charge carries a maximum sentence of five years. If convicted on all three charges, Mr. Biden would also have to pay a $750,000 fine.
The three charges stem from Mr. Biden’s 2018 purchase of a Colt Cobra handgun. When he bought the firearm, he allegedly lied on a document from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, known as form 4473, which asks would-be purchasers of guns to swear that they are not addicted to a controlled substance. Mr. Biden has admitted in his memoir and in press interviews that he was in the midst of a crack cocaine addiction when he bought the handgun.
The law that Mr. Biden is accused of violating — lying on form 4473 from the ATF — was written by his father. The elder Mr. Biden, while a member of the Senate in the early 1990s, wrote the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which criminalized lying on form 4473.
Hunter Biden attempted earlier this summer to enter into a pretrial diversion program for lying on the form as part of his plea agreement with Mr. Weiss, but the plan was rejected at the last moment by a federal district court judge.
The jurist who refused to accept Mr. Biden’s plea agreement, Judge Maryellen Noreika, voiced her concerns about the pretrial diversion program and the question of whether Mr. Biden had been granted immunity from future prosecutions. During the July 20 hearing, Judge Noreika explicitly asked if the first son could be prosecuted for failing to register as a foreign agent during his time as a lobbyist.
“There are references to foreign companies, for example, in the facts section,” Judge Noreika said in July, referring to the section of the agreement that disclosed some of the foreign lobbying Mr. Biden did on behalf of business interests. “Could the government bring a charge under the Foreign Agents Registration Act?” she asked.
Ultimately, the judge asked both Mr. Biden’s attorneys and federal prosecutors to return to the negotiating table to find out if, in fact, Mr. Biden was immune from prosecution. Within weeks, the lawyers reached an “impasse” that prosecutors felt could not be resolved “short of a trial.”
Mr. Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, and his former attorney, who helped negotiate the first son’s ill-fated plea deal, Chris Clark, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
All of this comes as the president faces an impeachment inquiry from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives for allegedly fostering a “culture of corruption” within his own family. The chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which is taking point on investigating wrongdoing on the president’s part, Congressman James Comer, has already said he plans to subpoena the younger Mr. Biden as part of the investigation.
The lead Republican pursuing an impeachment inquiry into the president, Mr. Comer called the indictment Thursday “a very small start.” Yet, he said in a statement, unless the Department of Justice pursues the claims Republicans have put out regarding whether the president was involved in his son’s business dealings, “it will be clear President Biden’s DOJ is protecting Hunter Biden and the big guy.”