Hunter Biden has been indicted on federal gun charges months after the collapse of his plea deal with prosecutors.
The 53-year-old son of US President Joe Biden, 80, was charged in a federal courtroom in Delaware on Thursday (14.09.23) with one count of false statement in the purchase of a firearm, a count of false statement to information required to be kept by federal firearms licensed dealer and another of possession of a firearm by an active drug user.
He was said to have committed the three counts of owning a firearm while being a drug user in 2018.
The two counts of making false statements carry sentences of up to 10 years and five years, respectively, while the gun charge possession also carries a sentence of up to a decade.
Hunter could go on trial next year during the 2024 presidential election.
Joe Biden’s indicted predecessor Donald Trump, 77, mocked the US leader over the charges.
He ranted on X: “Now that Hunter Biden has been indicted how many mins till Biden’s corrupt DOJ (Department of Justice) drops another Trump indictment to change the narrative?
“It’s nice to see something happen, though this is likely the excuse DOJ will use to pretend they're fair when they give him a slap on the wrist!”
House Oversight Committee Chairman Republican Senator James Comer called the indictment a “very small start” unless prosecutors investigate “everyone involved in the fraud schemes”.
Hunter’s indictment comes months after his deal with federal prosecutors fell apart during a court hearing in July.
In June, the two sides reached an agreement in regard to two misdemeanour crimes and a gun charge against the President’s son which would have meant federal officials would not charge Hunter with the more serious gun charge in exchange for a guilty plea to the two misdemeanour crimes.
The parties were set to resolve the matter during a court hearing in July before Judge Maryellen Noreika raised concerns about the terms.
She asked federal prosecutors if the agreement meant Hunter would be immune from prosecution for other possible crimes.
The judge also questioned the plea deal's constitutionality, specifically the diversion clause, and the immunity Hunter would have received.
Hunter has previously admitted openly about his addiction to cocaine during the years in which the tax and gun crimes allegedly occurred.