Hunter Biden arraignment on federal gun charges

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Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance in July in Wilmington, Delaware.
Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance in July in Wilmington, Delaware. Julio Cortez/AP/File

President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was indicted last month by special counsel David Weiss in connection with a gun he purchased in 2018, the first time in US history the Justice Department has charged the child of a sitting president.

The charges include making false statements on a federal firearms form and possession of a firearm as a prohibited person.

If convicted on all counts, Hunter Biden could theoretically face as much as 25 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000, according to court filings.

However, defendants very rarely get the maximum penalty, especially in cases like these, involving non-violent crimes and an alleged first-time offender.

The three-count indictment was handed up by a federal grand jury in Delaware, according to court filings.

  • Count One accuses Hunter Biden of lying on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) form when he bought the gun, by falsely swearing that he wasn’t addicted to illegal drugs or using illegal drugs.
  • Count Two accuses Hunter Biden of lying to the federally licensed gun dealer in Wilmington where he bought the gun. The alleged lie was related to the same sworn statement on the ATF form.
  • Count Three accuses Hunter Biden of illegally possessing the gun while using drugs or being addicted to drugs, which is a federal crime. He possessed the gun for 11 days in 2018.

The White House thought the Hunter Biden legal drama would end this summer, but a plea deal reached with Weiss to resolve the matter without charges collapsed over the summer amid scrutiny from a federal judge. House Republicans also announced an impeachment inquiry into the president in relation to Hunter Biden’s business ventures.

Hunter Biden’s gun-related legal troubles involve a firearm he purchased in October 2018. While buying a revolver at Delaware gun shop, he lied on a federal form when he swore that he was not using, and was not addicted to, any illegal drugs – even though he was struggling with crack cocaine addiction at the time of the purchase.

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