Hunter Biden Pleads Not Guilty in Historic Criminal Trial
In a historic turn of events, Hunter Biden, the son of U.S. President Joe Biden, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of lying about his drug use while purchasing a handgun. This marks the first-ever criminal prosecution of a sitting president’s child, setting the stage for a highly anticipated trial.
Hunter Biden, aged 53, was charged last month with three counts related to lying on a federal form to acquire a Colt Cobra handgun in 2018 and for being an illegal drug user in possession of the weapon. Sporting a dark suit and tie, he appeared at the federal courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware, where he spoke the words “yes, your honor” after being asked his plea by U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Burke. Biden arrived at the courthouse in a motorcade consisting of six black sedans, underscoring the significance of the case.
The looming trial will be the first of its kind, as it involves the adult child of a sitting president campaigning for reelection. As the legal proceedings unfold, it is worth noting that Donald Trump, Biden’s likely Republican rival in the 2024 election, faces four upcoming criminal trials of his own. Two of these trials are connected to his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, which he falsely claims was due to fraudulent activities.
Prior to Tuesday’s hearing, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, sought to conduct the proceedings via video to minimize the inconveniences associated with his appearance. However, this request was denied by Judge Burke, who emphasized the requirement for defendants to appear in person.
This is not the first time Hunter Biden has attended a hearing related to his legal troubles. In July, an agreement to resolve the gun charges and separate tax charges fell apart when U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika in Wilmington refused to accept it. Under the failed agreement, Biden had planned to plead guilty to misdemeanor tax violations and avoid punishment on the gun charges on the condition that he refrained from possessing firearms and using illegal drugs and alcohol for two years.
The case took another twist as Hunter Biden’s attorney, Lowell, signaled the intention to file a motion to dismiss the charges, claiming that the initial agreement remains in effect. Judge Burke stated that the motion would have to be filed by November 3.
Legal experts have highlighted the potential vulnerability of any firearms-related charges against Hunter Biden, citing a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last year that expanded gun rights under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It remains to be seen how this constitutional challenge could shape the outcome of the trial.
Hunter Biden has long been the target of relentless attacks by Republicans, with former President Trump leading the charge. Accusations of wrongdoing related to Ukraine and China have been leveled against Biden, who has held positions as a lobbyist, lawyer, investment banker, and artist. Republicans made him a central figure in the congressional impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden. However, it is worth noting that Hunter Biden has never worked in the White House or on his father’s campaign. President Biden has repeatedly emphasized that he has not discussed foreign business dealings with his son, and he has assured the public that any investigations involving his family members will be independently handled by the Justice Department.
As Hunter Biden’s trial unfolds, it is set to be a historic moment in American politics, where the legal fate of a president’s child hangs in the balance. The case will undoubtedly attract attention from all corners as observers assess its implications for political families and the justice system as a whole.
(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Andy Sullivan, Scott Malone, and Alistair Bell)