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Hunter Biden indicted over gun purchase

By MAY ZHOU in Houston | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-09-15 09:54
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Hunter Biden walks to the motorcade after arriving at Fort McNair, after US President Joe Biden spent the weekend at Camp David, in Washington, US, July 4, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, was indicted Thursday by special counsel David Weiss in US District Court in Delaware on three counts related to the possession of a gun while using narcotics.

The three counts are that Hunter Biden knowingly made a false and fictitious written statement that he wasn't a drug user to a gun dealer; that he made a false statement about drug use on a form; and illegally possessed the firearm from Oct 12-23, 2018, for 11 days. 

Two of the counts carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, while the third has a maximum of five years. Each count also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

Hunter Biden's lawyers said they will fight the charges in court and accused Weiss of "bending to political pressure" from Republicans.

"As expected, prosecutors filed charges today that they deemed were not warranted just six weeks ago following a five-year investigation into this case," Biden's lawyer Abbe Lowell said in a statement. 

"The evidence in this matter has not changed in the last six weeks, but the law has and so has MAGA Republicans' improper and partisan interference in this process. Hunter Biden possessing an unloaded gun for 11 days was not a threat to public safety, but a prosecutor, with all the power imaginable, bending to political pressure presents a grave threat to our system of justice," the statement continued. 

The charge came after a potential plea bargain with the prosecutors failed. The trial dates could potentially coincide with the president's 2024 re-election bid. It also is the first time in US history that a child of a sitting president has been indicted. 

Originally, Weiss was contemplating an agreement to recommend a sentence of probation for the two counts of failing to pay taxes in a timely fashion for 2017 and 2018 in addition to a pretrial diversion agreement not to charge Hunter Biden lying about being addicted to drugs and alcohol when filling the paperwork for purchasing the handgun in 2018.

However, two IRS whistleblowers accused the Justice Department of stonewalling the case, and the deal fell apart after much scrutiny from a federal judge. 

Weiss has been investigating Hunter Biden since late 2018 over potential felony tax evasion, illegal foreign lobbying, money laundering and other matters, mostly related to overseas business deals.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy unilaterally gave the green light on Tuesday to launch an impeach inquiry into President Biden. McCarthy said the House investigations into the Biden family this year have uncovered a "culture of corruption" that demands deeper review and "these are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption".

McCarthy made the decision to impeach Biden under pressure from conservative Republicans. They accuse the president of being involved in Hunter Biden's business dealings through influence-peddling and that Biden was involved in a bribery scheme when he was vice-president under former president Barack Obama. Democrats have countered that there is no direct evidence linking the president to his son's business dealings.

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