Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, was indicted Thursday on three criminal charges related to his gun ownership, a court filing showed.
The charges in US District Court in Delaware come weeks after the unexpected collapse of a deal with federal prosecutors.
Hunter Biden, who has been open about his struggle with substance abuse, has been indicted on two counts of lying about his illegal drug use in connection with his purchase of a Colt Cobra revolver. The third count charged him with possession of a firearm by a person using illegal drugs.
The two most serious counts carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Actual penalties are often lower than the statutory maximums.
“We believe that these charges are precluded by the agreement that prosecutors made with Mr. Biden, the recent decisions of several federal courts that this law is unconstitutional, and the facts that he did not That law was violated, and we plan to show all of that in court,” said Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden. NBC News.
The White House did not respond to initial requests for comment.
Hunter Biden arrives at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base after disembarking from Air Force One with his father, US President Joe Biden, in Syracuse, New York, Feb. 4, 2023.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
The 53-year-old son of a sitting president appeared in federal court in July to plead guilty to misdemeanor criminal tax charges.
His lawyers reached a separate pretrial transfer agreement with prosecutors on unrelated weapons charges.
But the plan fell apart after the presiding judge questioned the prosecutor and Biden’s attorney about the details of the deal.
Rather than put his legal troubles in the rear-view mirror, Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty at that hearing to charges of failing to pay federal taxes on more than $1.5 million annually in 2017 and 2018 .That tax bill has since been paid. .
US Attorney David Weiss and Biden’s lawyers argued in dueling court filings over whether their earlier agreement to let Hunter escape prosecution on a felony weapons charge was valid.
“We believe in the signed and filed transfer agreement [on the gun charge] remains valid and precludes any further charges from being filed against Mr. Biden,” Lowell said this month. The attorney emphasized that Biden “has been complying with the conditions of release under that agreement for the past several weeks , including regular probation office visits.”
Earlier in September, Weiss, who was appointed special counsel in the Hunter Biden case by Attorney General Merrick Garland, signaled that prosecutors would file an indictment by the end of the month.
The indictment compounds the pressure the Bidens are already facing this week: On Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., ordered Republican leaders in his chamber to open an impeachment inquiry centered on allegations that Joe Biden has benefited from his son’s foreign business dealings. while holding office.
White House officials denounced the move, saying there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the president and criticizing McCarthy for starting the inquiry without holding a House vote, as he had previously promised to do.
The accusation was made public just an hour before the president, who is running for re-election in 2024, is scheduled to deliver a speech in Maryland outlining his economic agenda.
Weiss was appointed by former President Donald Trump, who is grappling with his own staggering criminal caseload as he campaigns for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
In reaction to news of Hunter Biden’s indictment, Trump, who has claimed the president’s son receives special treatment, appeared to distance himself from Weiss.
“Prosecutor Weiss was appointed by 2 Democrat Senators of Delaware under a Blue Slip!” have fun wrote in Truth Social.
In a follow-up post, Trump complained that the gun charge “is the only crime Hunter Biden has committed that doesn’t involve Crooked Joe Biden.”
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.
— CNBC’s Brian Schwartz contributed to this report.