Wilmington, United States, Oct 3 (EFE).- Hunter Biden, son of United States President Joe Biden, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he bought, in 2018, a gun by lying when he claimed he was not using drugs, despite later admitting he was struggling with his crack addiction.
This was Hunter Biden’s first appearance before a judge since he was indicted on Sept. 14 on three counts of unlawful purchase and possession of weapons, which carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
The sentence, however, is usually less for those who, as in this case, have no prior criminal record.
His arraignment, which lasted about half an hour, took place in a federal courthouse in downtown Wilmington (Delaware), which dawned Tuesday morning surrounded by reporters, spotlights, and television cameras, in addition to a heavy security detail.
Inside the building, a brief court hearing took place in which Judge Christopher Burke made sure that Biden’s son understood his rights and the crimes he was accused of, and then allowed him to plead guilty or not guilty.
Burke also read Biden the conditions under which he is granted probation while on trial, which include remaining under the supervision of a judicial officer, actively seeking employment, not having weapons, and not using drugs or alcohol.
His lawyers had requested that he appear by videoconference to save the government the cost of transporting the defendant and his Secret Service agents from his home in California to Delaware, on the opposite coast of the country. However, the magistrate determined he should not receive “special treatment” and ordered him to appear in person.
Hunter Biden is accused of lying on a form he was required to fill out when, in October 2018, he purchased a Colt Cobra .38-caliber revolver from a Wilmington store.
Specifically, he is charged with two counts of making false statements, the first for checking a box on the form in which he claimed he was not addicted to drugs, and the second for submitting that information to the store knowing it was false.
The third charge is because he possessed that gun for 11 days despite knowing he had a drug addiction.
The indictment, however, did not mention the other crime for which he was also under investigation: irregular tax reporting.
Hunter Biden, 53, has publicly acknowledged that he has struggled for decades with alcohol and drug addiction, exacerbated after his brother Beau’s death in 2015 from a brain tumor.
When he bought the gun in 2018, he was in a spiral of depression after divorcing Kathleen Buhle, with whom he had three children, and was also going through a challenging time because of his addiction to crack cocaine, as he recounted in his memoir “Beautiful Things,” published in 2021.
The charges against Hunter Biden are the result of an investigation that was opened in 2018 during the Government of Donald Trump (2017-2021) and that the former president himself, now aspiring to the Republican presidential nomination, has used to attack Biden, whom he could be faceing in the 2024 elections.
The investigation, which has already lasted five years, led this year to an agreement between the defense of Hunter Biden and the prosecution team led by prosecutor David Weiss, appointed by Trump, which could have ended the judicial drama.
However, that pact collapsed, and now Hunter Biden faces a trial that is likely to unfold amid the campaign for the November 2024 elections.
Within this new judicial stage, Weiss, who investigated Hunter Biden from the beginning, was appointed special prosecutor for this case by Attorney General Merrick Garland, which gave him greater independence and the authority to prepare a report on his investigation that could be made public during the election campaign.
This litigation is running parallel to another political fight in Congress.
There, the Republican majority in the lower House has opened an impeachment investigation of Biden, whom they accuse of using his political influence to favor his son Hunter’s foreign business dealings, something the White House has repeatedly refuted. EFE