Wilmington, Delaware, July 26, 2023 Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, has arrived in federal court to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges of willfully failing to pay income taxes.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Hunter Biden will plead not guilty in his first court appearance on three felony firearm charges, his lawyer announced Tuesday, denying that President Joe Biden’s son is seeking “special treatment” in his first court appearance. .
Hunter’s attorney, Abby Lowell, made clear her planned defense by asking the judge to appear by video conference rather than in person in U.S. District Court in Wilmington. Delaware.
In a two-page letter to Judge Christopher Burke, Lowell wrote that Biden, who lives in California, “will be exempted from having to read the indictment, which is only a few pages long and can easily be read by video conference. ” he said.
“Mr. Biden also plans to enter a not guilty plea, and there is no reason why he cannot say these two words via video conference,” Rowell wrote.
A court appearance has not yet been scheduled.
Mr. Biden, 53, was indicted last week on three criminal counts related to possession of a firearm while an illegal drug user.
Biden, who has been open about his struggle with substance abuse, is charged with two counts of lying about illegal drug use in connection with the purchase of a Colt Cobra handgun. The third count charges possession of a firearm by an illegal drug user.
Lowell said in Tuesday’s letter that Biden is “not asking for special treatment” such as requesting a video conference for his first court appearance on the charges.
Lowell said conducting the court hearing by video would “minimize unnecessary strain on government resources and disruption to the courthouse and downtown” by Secret Service agents accompanying Biden in Wilmington. I insisted that I could.
“While I won’t go into details, an event that should have taken two days (as it is a very short process) requires a large number of agents and vehicles,” the attorneys wrote.
In a court order Monday, the judge noted that federal prosecutors are objecting to Biden’s request for a virtual court appearance, which he directed to respond by Wednesday.
Lowell’s letter called the prosecution’s objections “incomprehensible” and argued that Lowell was making a “common sense request for a video appearance.”
Biden pleaded not guilty in late July to another misdemeanor charge of failing to pay federal taxes on more than $1.5 million in annual income in 2017 and 2018.
He had intended to plead guilty to those charges, but the deal with prosecutors fell apart in court after being scrutinized by a judge.
Biden also said at the time that he expected to enter into a pretrial diversion agreement for gun-related crimes, which could allow him to avoid firearm-related criminal charges if he complied with the terms of the agreement for two years.
After a plea deal on the tax charges fell apart, U.S. Attorney David Weiss said the gun charge diversion agreement was rescinded.
But Lowell argues that the agreement, now in effect, prevents Biden from being charged with gun crimes. Lowell also said the charges are unconstitutional as a result of a 2022 Supreme Court decision that struck down New York state gun control laws. All six conservative justices on the Supreme Court, three of whom were appointed by former President Donald Trump, voted in favor of the decision.
Lowell said in a court filing earlier this month that Biden “has complied with and intends to comply with the terms of the agreement.”