Hunter Biden pleads not guilty to gun charges, faces possible trial as father president Joe Biden’s 2024 re-election bid

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Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to an illegal gun possession charge, marking the latest chapter in his troubled life just as his father President Joe Biden accelerates his campaign for re-election next year.

It is the first-ever criminal prosecution of a sitting US president’s child.

Hunter Biden, 53, arrived in federal court in his family hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, without speaking to waiting reporters.

He entered a not guilty plea to three felony charges stemming from his purchase of a .38-calibre Colt Cobra revolver in 2018 when, by his own admission, he was heavily addicted to drugs and barely in control of his life.

As Hunter Biden reaches plea deal, a look at his troubled past

Hunter Biden is charged with two counts of making false statements for claiming on forms required for the gun purchase that he was not using drugs illegally at the time.

He faces a third charge, based on the same statements, that he illegally possessed the gun – which he had for only 11 days in October 2018 – before he got rid of it.

Hunter Biden’s multiple legal troubles and controversies – which extend to facing ferocious accusations from Republican politicians that he engaged in corrupt business practices in China and Ukraine – are a constant drag on his father’s political standing as he seeks a second term in 2024.

Biden’s likely 2024 Republican rival, Donald Trump, faces four coming criminal trials of his own, two of which are tied to his attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden, which he continues to falsely claim is the result of fraud.

Republicans have opened an impeachment inquiry in Congress on what they claim is a Biden family criminal conspiracy but have provided no evidence that the president did anything wrong.

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden appeared in court for an arraignment hearing for federal gun charges, where he is accused of lying on federal forms for denying that he was addicted to any narcotics while buying a firearm in 2018. Photo: AFP

In response to the constant drip-drip of scandal, Joe Biden has repeatedly said he stands by his son and loves him for his attempts to recover from drug addiction.

Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, had asked Judge Christopher Burke to allow Biden, who lives in California, to appear by video instead of in person but the request was denied.

“The defendant should not receive any special treatment in this matter,” Burke wrote in his ruling.

If convicted, Hunter Biden could in theory face 25 years in prison, though in practice such offences, if not accompanied by other charges, are seldom punished by any jail time.

Trump asks Putin for dirt on Biden’s son’s dealings with Moscow mayor’s wife

In July, a plea bargain between Hunter Biden and federal prosecutor David Weiss – which would have erased the gun charges while Biden pleaded guilty to two tax charges and avoided prison – fell apart.

Hunter Biden has not been charged with any crimes related to his foreign business dealings, despite the Republican allegations.

However, Weiss, who was elevated to special counsel for the Hunter Biden probe after the plea deal fell through, says he is still investigating the junior Biden on possible tax charges in addition to the gun possession issue.

Hunter Biden is a Yale-trained lawyer and lobbyist-turned-artist, but his life has been marred by alcoholism and crack cocaine addiction.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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