Federal prosecutors have indicted Hunter Biden on gun charges, according to court documents.
Special counsel David Weiss filed charges against President Joe Biden’s son after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a plea deal that fell apart last month. The agreement fell apart after U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika questioned the limits of Hunter’s immunity under the deal.
The indictment charges the president’s son with three crimes related to false statements made on a federal application to purchase a firearm. The charges relate to a time when, in October 2018, Hunter claimed he was clean of drugs to purchase a handgun. He later wrote in his memoir that he was addicted to crack cocaine at the time.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) September 14, 2023
Two of the counts carry max sentences of 10 years in prison, while the third carries a max sentence of 5 years, according to NBC News. The stiff sentences are a sharp contrast to the agreement worked out under the failed plea deal. The plea agreement would have freed Hunter from jail time and instead put him in a diversion program that, if completed successfully, would have wiped the gun charges from his record.
Hunter, “knowing that he was an unlawful user of and addicted to any stimulant, narcotic drug, and any other controlled substance … did knowingly possess a firearm, that is, a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver,” the indictment says.
Weiss signaled earlier this month that he was looking at charges against Hunter related to lying on a federal firearm registration form and owning a gun illegally. Weiss wrote in a notice to Noreika in Delaware that he was considering charging the Biden heir with gun charges, though Weiss did not mention other charges related to Hunter’s overseas business dealings or taxes that are the subject of ongoing an corruption investigation by House Republicans. Hunter’s failed plea deal struck with Weiss included two misdemeanor tax charges, as well.
The charges for the president’s son come at a politically and potentially legally fraught time for the president. President Biden is facing allegations from Republicans that he benefitted from his families’ overseas business schemes that netted the Biden family tens of millions of dollars. The president is alleged by former business partners of Hunter to have known about Hunter’s business dealings. The president at times allegedly spoke with Hunter’s business partners directly to reinforce an image purchasing of access to the highest levels of American governance, according to one of Hunter’s former partners, Devon Archer.