Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, has been indicted on gun charges by federal prosecutors. The indictment comes after a plea deal between Biden and special counsel David Weiss fell apart in July. According to court documents filed in Delaware, Biden is accused of illegally obtaining and possessing a Colt revolver in 2018 after falsely declaring that he was not a user of, or addicted to, narcotic drugs.
This is the first time that the son of a sitting US president has been indicted on federal criminal charges. Biden faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the two counts of making false statements to a gun dealer and an additional five years for possessing the gun as someone with a drug addiction.
The timing of the indictment is significant as it coincides with the announcement by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that Republicans will pursue an impeachment inquiry into President Biden for his son’s business dealings. Three House committees are seeking documents to support claims of illegal profiting by the president through his son’s business relationship.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has condemned the indictment as politically motivated. He argues that the evidence in the case has not changed in the last six weeks and accuses prosecutors of bending to political pressure. Lowell also refers to a recent federal appeals court decision striking down a law denying weapons to citizens with past drug usage, which could have implications for this case.
While Republicans view the indictment as a starting point, Democrats believe it is a distraction from government funding issues. Biden’s supporters criticize what they see as a heavy-handed political prosecution of an individual with no previous criminal record.
The status of the tax evasion charges against Biden is unclear, and additional charges could still be brought forth. Biden’s lawyers previously expected the gun charges to be dropped in exchange for compliance with a diversion agreement.
The case now awaits a hearing, the date of which has not been set.