Federal prosecutors have indicted President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden on three charges stemming from allegedly false statements in the purchase of a firearm following a special counsel investigation.
The indictment – the first ever against a sitting president’s son – follows a failed plea agreement on tax and gun charges that collapsed in July under scrutiny from a federal judge.
Charges announced on 14 September follow a multi-year investigation from David Weiss, who was appointed by Donald Trump and remained as US attorney for Delaware under the current administration in an apparent effort to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Mr Weiss, whose investigation preceded the Biden administration and Biden campaign, was appointed as special counsel in August.
Hunter Biden was set to plead guilty to misdemeanour tax charges and enter a diversion agreement related to a felony gun charge in July, but the agreement appeared to hit a snag during a federal court hearing, and the judge presiding over the case ultimately rejected the arrangement.
Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, continue to investigate the younger Biden and prepare an impeachment inquiry against the president, fuelled by GOP allegations that he was involved with and profited from his son’s business dealings. House Republicans have not provided any evidence that the president was influenced by or profited from such dealings while in office.
A Delaware grand jury’s indictment charges Hunter Biden with illegally owning a gun as a drug user, and for allegedly lying on a form when he bought the firearm.
The charges are expected to draw right-wing outrage and fuel Republican campaigns against the Biden family, as the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination for president faces four criminal indictments spanning dozens of charges, including for crimes allegedly committed while in office.
The day before the indictment was announced, attorneys for Hunter Biden sued a former Trump-era White House official accused of launching a “sustained, unhinged and obsessed campaign” against him and the Biden family, including hacking the alleged contents of a laptop that were central to political campaigns surrounding the 2020 presidential election, federal investigations and Republican-led congressional probes.
This is a developing story