Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, has formally entered a plea of not guilty to three federal firearms-related charges. This move brings the case one step closer to a potential trial, which could have significant implications as President Biden seeks re-election in 2024.
The 53-year-old Hunter Biden appeared in a Delaware court on Tuesday to respond to the federal charges after a plea deal that aimed to expedite the legal process fell through.
US Magistrate Judge Christopher Burke emphasized that Hunter Biden should not receive any special treatment in the case. Hunter Biden’s legal issues and past controversies have often been a target for Republican lawmakers.
The charges against Hunter Biden stem from allegations that he provided false information about his history of drug use when purchasing a firearm in October 2018. A plea deal, which would have resolved the case swiftly, collapsed over the summer.
It’s worth noting that Hunter Biden has faced criticism from Republican politicians and conservative media figures, who have made unproven claims about his involvement in alleged corrupt business activities. However, no charges related to his foreign business dealings have been filed, and he maintains his innocence.
The possibility of a trial in the lead-up to the November 2024 elections is expected to fuel Republican efforts, including an ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Hunter Biden is currently facing two counts of making false statements and one count of illegal gun possession, with potential sentences of up to 25 years in prison.
Under the abandoned plea deal, which typically involves an admission of guilt in exchange for reduced sentencing, Hunter Biden would have pleaded guilty and received probation instead of jail time for misdemeanor tax charges. Additionally, he would have avoided prosecution on the gun-related charges if he stayed out of legal trouble for a two-year period.
It’s important to note that Hunter Biden has never held public office and has faced longstanding struggles with drug addiction, including during the time when he acquired a .38-caliber Colt Cobra revolver in 2018.