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14 Sep, 2023 18:02

Hunter Biden indicted on federal charges

The US president’s son faces three counts in firearms case
Hunter Biden indicted on federal charges

A federal grand jury in Delaware has charged US President Joe Biden’s son Hunter with unlawful possession of a gun and lying about his drug habit to obtain a firearm, according to an indictment published on Thursday.

Biden allegedly “knowingly made a false and fictitious written statement” to a licensed arms dealer in October 2018, saying he was not a drug addict on a background check form required for purchasing a gun, the indictment alleges. This resulted in him buying a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver, in full knowledge that as a drug addict he was not allowed to possess one.

The pistol was eventually thrown into a bin outside a Wilmington, Delaware grocery store by Hallie Biden, the wife of Hunter’s late brother Beau – who had since become her ex-brother-in-law's lover – reportedly because she feared he would use it. When she went back to retrieve the gun, however, it was gone. The US Secret Service was accused of trying to cover up the entire incident.

Hunter Biden has since admitted to a crack cocaine addiction, claiming he had little to no recollection of 2018 and 2019 because of it. His drug habit became a matter of public interest in October 2020, after the New York Post published some of the contents of the laptop he had abandoned in a Delaware repair shop – including photos of him smoking crack, handling a gun, and engaging in graphic sex acts with prostitutes.

The Post story was censored in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, however, after 50 former US intelligence officials falsely declared it “Russian disinformation.” It later turned out that their letter was organized by Joe Biden’s campaign.

A plea agreement struck between Hunter Biden’s lawyers and federal prosecutors in June envisioned downgrading his tax violations to misdemeanors and sentencing him to probation, while filing the firearms charges separately. The gun charges would also be “subject to a pretrial diversion agreement,” meaning no prison time, according to the lawyers. 

The deal was roundly denounced by Republicans as a sign the president’s son was getting preferential treatment by the Department of Justice, while Congress set out to investigate a whistleblower’s claims about interference from above in the work of the Delaware prosecutor assigned to the case.

While a federal judge appeared to have blocked the plea deal, Biden’s attorneys insist it remains in effect. It was not clear whether Thursday’s charges were the same as mentioned in the July agreement.