Hunter Biden pleads not guilty to accusations of illegal purchase and possession of a weapon | International

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Hunter Biden, son of the president of the United States, Joe Biden, appeared this Tuesday in a federal court in Wilmington (Delaware) to hear the charges against him for the alleged illegal purchase and possession of a gun. As expected, the defendant pleaded not guilty in an appearance lasting just over 20 minutes surrounded by great expectation in the J. Caleb Boggs building, which houses the courts, in the center of the city. The case is being used by Republicans as a weapon against the president just over a year before the elections.

Joe Biden's son is charged with three crimes. According to the prosecutor, he lied by claiming he was clean of drugs when he bought a .38-caliber Colt Cobra five years ago. According to the charge sheet, Hunter Biden presented a written statement “in which he certified that he was not an illicit user or addict of any stimulant, narcotic or any other controlled substance, when in fact, as he knew, said statement was false and fictitious.” . The prosecutor accuses him of two crimes for these alleged falsehoods and a third for the subsequent possession of the weapon, also illegal due to his addictions.

During the hearing, the judge reviewed the charges in an educational manner, asking the accused if he understood them. “Yes, your honor,” have been the only words Biden has uttered, half a dozen times. The plea of ​​“not guilty” has been expressed by his lawyer.

The judge maintains the accused, who appeared in a dark suit and tie, on probation with the same requirements he already had. Conditions include supervision by a U.S. probation officer from the Central District of California, where he resides, actively seeking employment, not possessing weapons, not using alcohol, not using drugs, and submitting to drug testing if required. it is required by the probation office. He would also have to participate in substance abuse counseling if required by the probation office.

Hunter Biden signed these conditions and left the courtroom through a side door, avoiding journalists, whom he had greeted with a half-smile upon entering the room.

A few months ago, the accused admitted the facts as part of an agreement by which the prosecutor renounced criminal prosecution of the crime in exchange for him staying away from drugs for two years and giving up having a firearm in the home. future. It is a common agreement in similar cases in which the accused have been rehabilitated and have no criminal record. The agreement to file the gun case also admitted the commission of two crimes of tax fraud in 2017 and 2018 (already regularized with the payment of one million dollars) for which he was going to be sentenced to lesser penalties, predictably avoiding entry in prison.

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The different interpretation of the agreement between the prosecution and the defense and the pressure from the Republicans, who saw in the pact a favorable treatment for the president's son, completely changed the situation. The prosecutor finally decided to press charges for the purchase of the weapon. The crimes of which Hunter Biden is accused carry maximum sentences of up to 25 years in prison, although it is not common for them to be imposed in a case like this.

Once the agreement was broken, Hunter Biden's lawyers advised him to plead not guilty, something they had already anticipated in their writings before the court. There is no date yet for the trial, but it is expected that it will be held less than a year before the elections in which Joe Biden seeks re-election, on November 5, 2024. It may overlap with one of the multiple cases that Donald Trump has in the courts, four of them of a criminal nature that add up to a total of 91 crimes, according to the accusations. Although the accusation against Hunter Biden is for a completely private matter, Republicans present it as an example of a pattern of corruption by the Bidens while they forgive Trump for all kinds of excesses.

Father's help

Joe Biden has always supported his son, although he has generally avoided answering questions about him or commenting on the indictment, referring to the Department of Justice. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed David Weiss as special prosecutor for this case, which gives him added independence, but it is the same one who had been investigating it in Delaware as a federal prosecutor since Donald Trump's mandate. Investigations underway since 2018 have so far found no evidence of other possible crimes. Hunter Biden's lawyers interpreted that with the July agreement

His son's dealings in Ukraine and China when Joe Biden was Barack Obama's vice president have come under scrutiny by Republicans for years. No evidence has been found that the current president intervened in them, beyond courtesy greetings and the like, but that has not prevented the president of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, from ordering the opening of a formal investigation as a preliminary step to a possible political process (impeachment) to Biden.

In the first session of the investigation, even witnesses called by Republicans said they saw no grounds for impeachment. Even so, congressmen have sent injunctions and new subpoenas in search of something to latch onto to accuse Biden of bribery and misuse of power, although there is no trace that a single penny of the money Hunter Biden received for his businesses reached the president.

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