Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to federal gun charges on Tuesday, less than three months after an earlier plea agreement he'd reached with prosecutors on tax and gun charges fell apart.
Appearing inside in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., Biden was arraigned on three criminal counts: two related to false statements he allegedly made while purchasing the firearm and a third for illegal possession of a firearm while addicted to drugs.
The three charges carry a combined maximum prison sentence of 25 years.
Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, entered the not guilty plea on his behalf. The hearing lasted less than half an hour. His next court date has not yet been assigned, but there is a pretrial motion deadline of Nov. 3, and Lowell said the defense plans to file a motion to dismiss the case.
What do the charges against Hunter stem from?
According to filed by special counsel David Weiss last month, President Biden's son was charged with, prosecutors allege that on or about Oct. 12, 2018, Hunter Biden knowingly deceived a firearms dealer in Delaware while buying a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver by falsely stating on a federal firearms application that he was not addicted to any narcotics.
The 53-year-old Biden has since acknowledged he was a drug addict at the time.
The younger Biden allegedly certified on the form that "he was not an unlawful user of, and addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, and any other controlled substance, when in fact, as he knew, that statement was false and fictitious," the indictment reads.
What are Hunter Biden’s other legal troubles?
The Justice Department has spent years investigating Hunter Biden's business dealings and drug use. In June, he struck a deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Delaware, agreeing to plead guilty to a pair of tax-related misdemeanors in a deal that would have required him to acknowledge his failure to pay income taxes in 2017 and 2018 in exchange for probation.
But that deal fell apart during a court hearing in July after U.S. Judge Maryellen Noreika expressed concern over the structure of the agreement, which Republican critics had called a so-called sweetheart deal for the president's son.
Weiss was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in August to lead the Hunter Biden probe.
How does the case fit in with the GOP’s impeachment efforts?
The hearing came weeks after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy allowed the House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means committees to open the inquiry without a floor vote.
While Republicans have consistently said the president is tied to Hunter’s entanglements with foreign governments, they have yet to provide any evidence to support this.
They have proven that the elder Biden communicated with his son and that he with foreign individuals who had paid the younger Biden millions, but not that business was discussed or promises were made during the meals.
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"Go ahead, do it. I dare you," Democratic Sen. John Fetterman. "Your man has what, three or four indictments now? Trump has a mug shot, and he's been impeached twice. Sometimes you just gotta call their bulls***."