Hunter Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, was indicted by David Weiss on firearms charges related to a firearm he legally acquired in 2018.
Falsifying information on a federal firearms form and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm are the charges facing the defendant.
It’s a dramatic twist of fate that might happen in the middle of his father’s reelection campaign in 2024, after his first plea deal fell through.
The White House had hoped that the legal drama around Hunter Biden would come to a conclusion this summer. However, a plea deal agreed with Weiss to conclude the case without charges fell through during the summer under the scrutiny of a federal judge. Concerning Hunter Biden’s business dealings, House Republicans have also initiated an impeachment investigation into the president.
As evidenced by Thursday’s court documents, Hunter Biden has been ordered to make an initial appearance in connection with the accusations; however, when and when this initial appearance will take place remains to be seen.
A source close to Hunger Biden told AWN that he is now in California, and that details like the time and place of his self-surrender or initial appearance are still being worked out.
Buying a Gun in 2018
The pistol at the centre of Hunter Biden’s legal difficulties was purchased by him in October of 2018. He was battling with crack cocaine addiction at the time he purchased a revolver from a Delaware gun shop, but he lied on a federal form stating that he was not using or addicted to any illegal narcotics.
According to the indictment, 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,” even though he was aware that his claim was untrue.
Falsifying information on the ATF form or being a drug user in possession of a firearm are both federal crimes. (In 2018, Hunter Biden had the firearm in his possession for almost 11 days.) Some of these crimes, the prosecution has argued, will have their statute of limitations run out in October.
According to Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, the prior gun deal with prosecutors “prevents any additional charges from being filed” and his client “has been abiding by the conditions of release under that agreement.” The prosecution claims the agreement was never implemented.
Weiss has been in charge of the Hunter Biden probe since late 2018. Over the years, his team looked into a variety of issues related to Hunter Biden’s international business dealings, including possible felony tax evasion, unlawful foreign lobbying, money laundering, and other problems.
In June, Weiss announced a two-part agreement in which Hunter Biden would plead guilty to two federal tax misdemeanours and enter into a “diversion agreement” in which the gun charge would be dropped in two years if Hunter Biden passed regular drug tests and stayed out of legal trouble.
The agreements, however, fell apart under the scrutiny of the federal judge in charge of the case at a shocking hearing in July. After attempts to renegotiate an agreement broke down, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss as a special counsel in August, significantly increasing the scope of the investigation.
Weiss is considering filing further charges against Hunter Biden for tax evasion in addition to the firearms issue. Last month, he stated in a court filing that he “may bring tax charges” in either California or Washington, DC and that “a trial is now in order” about the alleged tax offences.
There is considerable constitutional danger attached to one of the charges.
After a judgement in August by an appeals court encompassing three southern states declaring the act unconstitutional, the legality of the gun possession law Hunter Biden is accused of breaking is already in question.
In a case involving a man convicted under the statute in 2022, a federal appeals court headquartered in New Orleans knocked down the decades-old law last month, ruling it violated the Second Amendment.
Circuit Judge Jerry Smith, a Ronald Reagan appointee, said for the three-judge panel, “in short, our history and tradition may support some limits on an intoxicated person’s right to carry a weapon, but it does not justify disarming a sober citizen based exclusively on his past drug usage.” This prohibition on law-abiding drug users has no basis in either traditional disarmament practises or the belief that drug use inherently breeds violence.
Biden’s case, brought in Delaware, is not affected by the judgement by the Fifth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, but it may be used by other defendants convicted under the law in those states to seek new challenges to their convictions.