WASHINGTON: In a major development, Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, has been indicted on federal firearms charges. This latest development marks a crucial turn in an ongoing investigation against the President’s son. According to news agency AP, the indictment alleges that Biden provided false information about his drug use when acquiring a firearm in October 2018, a period during which he openly admitted to grappling with addiction to crack cocaine. This revelation emerged through documents filed in federal court in Delaware.
Hunter Biden has been under scrutiny for his business dealings as well. The special counsel overseeing the case has hinted at potential charges related to tax payments, which could be filed in either Washington or California, where he resides.
This indictment unfolds as congressional Republicans continue to pursue an impeachment inquiry against the Democratic President, with a significant focus on Hunter Biden’s business affairs. While Republicans have obtained testimony suggesting that Hunter Biden used the “Biden brand” to secure international work opportunities, concrete evidence of wrongdoing by the President remains elusive.
According to the indictment, Hunter Biden falsely declared on the mandatory firearm purchase form when he acquired a Colt Cobra Special from a Wilmington, Delaware, gun shop in October 2018. He is accused of checking a box affirming that he was neither a drug user nor addicted to drugs, despite being a drug user, thereby illegally possessing the firearm.
Previously, a felony gun charge against Hunter Biden, aged 53, was part of a plea agreement that also included guilty pleas to misdemeanour tax charges. However, this agreement unravelled during a July court hearing when a judge raised concerns about its unconventional terms.
Defence attorneys argue that the portion of the agreement sparing Hunter Biden from prosecution on the gun charge if he maintains good conduct is still in effect, including provisions for immunity against other potential charges. While attorneys indicated they would contest any additional charges filed against him, they did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
Prosecutors, on the other hand, assert that the agreement never came into force and is now invalid. They had signalled earlier this month that charges were forthcoming.
The plea agreement had been denounced by Republicans as a “sweetheart deal.” If accepted, it would have allowed Hunter Biden to serve probation rather than serving jail time after pleading guilty to tax evasion for the years 2017 and 2018.
During those two years, Hunter Biden’s personal income totalled around USD 4 million, comprising fees from his business and consulting work with a company co-founded with the CEO of a Chinese business conglomerate and his involvement with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, as stated by prosecutors.
Congressional Republicans have maintained their independent investigations into the Justice Department’s handling of the case and have probed nearly every facet of Hunter Biden’s business dealings, attempting to draw a direct connection between his financial affairs and his father. Despite these efforts, they have yet to present concrete evidence implicating the President in his son’s work, aside from occasional dinners with Hunter Biden’s clients or brief greetings during phone calls.