Hunter Biden Returns to Court for ‘Not Guilty’ Plea Looking Gray and Worn


(Headline USA) Looking gray and wrinkled after his years of living outside the law finally caught up with him, Hunter Biden, 53, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to three federal firearms charges filed after his earlier sweetheart plea deal imploded, setting the case on a track toward a possible trial in 2024.

That could potentially be while his father is campaigning for reelection, although many speculate that with impeachment bearing down on President Joe Biden and members of his own party beginning to turn against the president, whose poll numbers are deep underwater, Biden could resign on the condition that his successor (presumably Vice President Kamala Harris) be willing to pardon his only surviving son, and potentially himself.

Hunter Biden has been charged with lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun that he kept for about 11 days. He could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. When asked by Magistrate Judge Christopher Burke if he understood the charges against him, he said, “Yes, Your Honor.”

His lawyer Abbe Lowell said in court he plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges, challenging their constitutionality.

“Mr. Biden pleads not guilty to the three counts that have been brought against him,” Lowell said to the judge.

Hunter Biden has acknowledged struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine during that period in 2018, but his lawyers have said he didn’t break the law—despite possession of crack cocaine itself being a felony.

Evidence of several other felonies, including sex-trafficking and child pornography was made public after the release of his abandoned laptop in the month prior to the 2020 election. It also shows Hunter in possession of a different illegal firearm than the one he was charged for, while having sex with a woman believed to be a prostitute.

On Tuesday, the judge noted Hunter Biden had been repeatedly tested for drugs and is negative.

Hunter Biden’s attorneys claim thatthe charges were the result of political pressure.

“President Trump and his MAGA allies” have forced “the Justice Department to ignore the law and deviate from its policies in cases like this one,” Lowell said in a statement after the brief hearing.

However, others contend that the Justice Department spent years slow-walking the charges and failed to charge him for a litany of other crimes due to political pressure.

Special counsel David Weiss, who spent years investigating the case as the U.S. Attorney for Delaware, was excoriated by Republicans for allowing the statute of limitations to expire on several felonies right before filing charges that included the earlier plea deal.

Some suggested he would not have filed any charges but for congressional whistleblowers who testified that his office was neglecting its duties.

Hunter Biden left the courthouse shortly after the hearing, getting into a black SUV and pulling away. The deadline for pretrial motions in the case is Nov 3. The pretrial release conditions include no alcohol or drugs; drug testing or substance abuse counseling if needed; and continuing or seeking employment.

Earlier this summer, Hunter Biden agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor tax charges and would have also avoided prosecution on the gun charges had he stayed out of trouble for two years.

It was the culmination of a yearslong investigation by federal prosecutors into the business dealings of the president’s son, and the agreement would have dispensed with criminal proceedings and spared the Bidens weeks of headlines as the election loomed.

The deal broke down after the judge who was supposed to sign off on the agreement instead raised a series of questions about the deal.

Now, Weiss has been appointed to handle the case, and there appears no easy end in sight. Hunter was indicted on the three gun charges, and no new tax charges have yet been filed—but the special counsel has indicated those charges could come in Washington or in California, where Hunter lives.

Defense attorneys have argued that he remains protected by an immunity provision that was part of the scuttled agreement, but prosecutors overseen by Weiss disagree.

Lowell on Tuesday said he planned to file “a number of motions,” including a push to dismiss the case based on an immunity agreement in the now-scuttled plea deal and the constitutionality of the law against drug users having guns.

Lowell also said the defense plans to ask for an evidentiary hearing.

Meanwhile, Hunter’s legal team has taken a more aggressive legal stance in recent weeks, filing a series of lawsuits over the dissemination of personal information from his laptop and his tax data by whistleblower IRS agents who testified before Congress as part of the GOP probe.

Hunter, who lives in the Los Angeles area, had asked for Tuesday’s hearing to be conducted remotely over video feed, but Burke sided with prosecutors, saying there would be no “special treatment.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press