Hunter Biden Will Stand Trial on Gun Charges Starting June 3, After Judge Rejects Hail Mary Bid To Delay

The first son has made a number of motions to dismiss charges in recent months.

AP/Jose Luis Magana
Hunter Biden, accompanied by his attorney, Abbe Lowell, leaves a House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. AP/Jose Luis Magana

A federal judge has rejected Hunter Biden’s Hail Mary effort to delay his gun trial, and the first son will go on trial in less than three weeks, on June 3. 

Mr. Biden fils is facing three felony counts for lying about his drug use to buy a gun. He could face years in prison. He is also facing a separate trial, on the West Coast, on felony tax evasion charges.

Judge Maryellen Noreika of the district of Delaware ruled Tuesday that Mr. Biden would begin his trial on June 3 — a date she chose in March in consultation with both the prosecution and the defense. 

Mr. Biden’s lawyers had asked the judge to delay the trial until September in order to more adequately schedule witnesses and review information provided by the prosecution. 

Judge Noreika previously denied several motions by Mr. Biden to dismiss the charges entirely. The first son’s lawyers had argued that Special Counsel David Weiss had been illegally appointed, that Mr. Biden was the victim of a “vindictive” prosecution, and that his botched plea agreement — which would have allowed him to enter a “judicial diversion program” and avoid felony charges — was still in effect, among other things. 

On his argument that he was being unfairly treated, the jurist wrote that Mr. Biden is not a member of a “protected class” of “family members of politically-important persons.” 

“This Court has been unable to find any instance where a defendant’s familial relationship to a politically-important person on its own gave rise to a claim of selective prosecution,” Judge Noreika wrote in April. “Even if that were a cognizable claim, however, Defendant has failed to come forward with ‘clear evidence’ that similarly situated individuals have not been prosecuted for comparable firearm-related conduct.”

Judge Noreika found no evidence to back up his claims and declined the motions to dismiss.

At the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Mr. Biden asked a three-judge panel to reverse Judge Noreika’s ruling on the motions to dismiss. They declined to hear his case. 

Judges D. Brooks Smith, Cindy Chung, and Patty Shwartz — who were appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, President Biden, and President Obama, respectively — said in a unanimous decision that the first son does not have the right to appeal the orders that denied his motions to dismiss at this time. 

“This appeal is DISMISSED because the defendant has not shown the District Court’s orders are appealable before final judgment,” the three jurists wrote in their opinion released Tuesday. 

The gun case dates back to 2018, when Mr. Biden bought a .38-caliber Colt Cobra Special in Delaware. He had only owned it for a few days when his brother’s widow — who was then his girlfriend — found the gun in his truck and threw it out in the garbage outside an upscale Wilmington grocery store. When Mr. Biden tried to retrieve the gun, it had already been found by a scavenger and eventually made its way to law enforcement. 

Mr. Biden is also on trial in California for several felony tax violations regarding his failure to pay taxes on millions of dollars in income, mostly from his foreign business dealings in Ukraine. He had argued in this case as well that Mr. Weiss was unfairly targeting him. The presiding judge in the case, Judge Mark Scarsi, also declined his motions to dismiss the charges on those grounds, saying that the first son “offers only conjecture about animus motivating the prosecutorial decisions in this case,” and fails to provide “clear evidence” of unfair treatment. 

Tuesday’s ruling in the gun case is the latest setback for Mr. Biden, who only 11 months ago thought he had resolved his legal woes. 

In June of last year, Mr. Biden reached a plea agreement with Mr. Weiss in which he would plead guilty to misdemeanor tax evasion charges, and enter a “judicial diversion program” on the gun charges in which he could avoid a felony rap if he stayed sober and went through outpatient substance abuse treatment. Immediately after the announcement of the deal, Mr. Biden showed up at a White House state dinner for the president of India, smiling and shaking hands with the top tier of the Washington power establishment. 

The plea deal, though, came under scrutiny from Republicans in Congress, including from Speaker McCarthy, who called it “a sweetheart deal.” Judge Noreika eventually blocked the plea deal after Mr. Biden’s lawyers insisted that it protected Mr. Biden from any future prosecution for past wrongdoing — though prosecutors, under questioning from Judge Noreika, claimed they never agreed to this. The deal collapsed, and Mr. Weiss, having been elevated to special counsel, proceeded to charge Mr. Biden on two coasts.


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