WILMINGTON, Delaware, USA —
Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to several federal gun charges that arose after an earlier trial collapsed. The case will go to trial in 2024, when his father will campaign for his re-election.
He is accused of lying on a form about his drug use in October 2018 to obtain a gun that he hid for 11 days. If convicted, he faces a sentence of 25 years.
Asked by Judge Christopher Burke if he understood the charges filed, he replied, “Yes, your honor.”
His lawyer, Abbe Lowell, told the court that he intends to file a motion to dismiss the charges as unconstitutional.
“Mr. Biden has pleaded not guilty to all three charges brought against him,” Lowell told the judge.
Hunter Biden acknowledged that during 2018 he was trying to overcome an addiction to crack cocaine, but his lawyers said he did not break the law. Prosecutions like this are rare, and an appeals court has ruled that banning gun ownership by drug users violates the Second Amendment under new Supreme Court rules.
On Tuesday, the judge noted that Hunter Biden has repeatedly submitted to drug tests and tested negative.
Hunter Biden’s lawyers suggested that prosecutors bowed to pressure from Republican politicians, saying the president’s son got a favorable plea deal, and that the allegations were the result of pressure from politics.
In the middle of the year, Hunter Biden agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor tax offenses and would have avoided gun charges if he had not broken the law for two years. It ends a years-long probe by federal prosecutors into Biden Jr.’s business dealings, and the deal will avoid a trial and weeks of headlines as the election nears.
The deal collapsed when the judge who was supposed to approve it raised a series of doubts.