- US President Joe Biden’s son Hunter is facing criminal charges.
- He is accused of deceiving a firearms dealer into selling him a gun.
- Hunter Biden has been the focus of attacks by former US president Donald Trump and other Republicans.
US President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden has been charged with deceiving a gun dealer into selling him a firearm, in the first-ever prosecution of a sitting president’s child.
The indictment filed on Thursday in US District Court in Delaware charged Hunter Biden with three criminal counts related to lying about the fact that he was using illegal drugs at that time, which would have banned him under the law from owning a firearm.
The charges ensure that courtroom drama will play an outsized role in the 2024 US presidential campaign as Joe Biden, 80, seeks re-election in a likely rematch with his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, 77, who faces four upcoming criminal trials.
The new charges against Hunter Biden brought by recently elevated US Special Counsel David Weiss say nothing about any violations of US tax law.
A prior deal under which Hunter Biden, 53, would have pleaded guilty to two misdemeanour tax charges and enrol in a program to avoid prosecution on a gun-related charge collapsed in a stunning turn in a July hearing.
Hunter Biden is US President Joe Biden’s son. Source: AP / Andrew Harnik
Prosecutors accused the younger Biden of lying about his use of narcotics when he purchased a Colt Cobra handgun in October 2018.
It comes two days after related to Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings.
A lawyer for Hunter Biden could not be immediately reached for comment.
Weiss was elevated to special counsel status in August after investigating Hunter Biden’s business dealings for years as the US attorney in the Democratic president’s home state of Delaware. He was originally nominated by Trump.
The younger Biden for years has been the focus of unrelenting attacks by Trump and his Republican allies , among other matters.
Hunter Biden has worked as a lobbyist, lawyer, investment banker and artist, and has publicly detailed his struggles with substance abuse.
While Republican politicians have collected testimony that Joe Biden at times joined calls with his son’s business associates, they have yet to produce evidence that the president personally benefited.
Hunter Biden disclosed in December 2020 that . Biden has denied wrongdoing.
While most US attorneys appointed by Trump were asked to step down when Biden took office in January 2021, as is routine, the Justice Department asked Weiss to stay on.
Hunter Biden has been the focus of unrelenting attacks by Donald Trump and his Republican allies for years. Source: AP / Julio Cortez/AP
The US Justice Department’s inquiry has itself come under scrutiny from Republicans after whistle-blowers from the Internal Revenue Service assigned to the investigation told Congress that the department slow-walked the probe and limited Weiss’ ability to bring charges. Weiss has denied the claims.
Hunter Biden never held a position in the White House or on his father’s campaign.
The president has said he has not discussed foreign business dealings with his son and has said his Justice Department would have independence in any investigation of a member of his family.
Trump and other Republicans have alleged what they called conflicts of interest from Hunter Biden’s position on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma at the time his father was vice president to Democratic President Barack Obama.
Hunter Biden appears to be the first child of a sitting president to be indicted, according to Aaron Crawford, who specialises in presidential history at the University of Tennessee.
Hunter Biden described in a 2021 memoir dealing with substance abuse issues in his life including crack cocaine use and alcoholism.
He was discharged from the US navy reserve in 2014 after, sources said at the time, testing positive for cocaine.