US special counsel indicts Hunter Biden on 3 firearms charges

US Department of Justice (DOJ) Special Counsel David Weiss revealed on Thursday that a federal grand jury indicted President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden on three firearms charges. The charges come almost two months after a federal district judge rejected a plea deal in which Hunter Biden would have avoided federal gun charges in exchange for a guilty plea to two misdemeanor tax charges.

The Thursday indictment alleges that Hunter Biden lied on federal firearm purchase forms in order to obtain a firearm in October 2018. In the US, all firearms sellers that deal firearms under federal law are required to have a federal firearms license (FFL). In order to purchase a firearm from these sellers, potential purchasers are required to fill out a form in which they certify that they are “not an unlawful user of, or addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”

Federal prosecutors allege that Hunter Biden certified he was not an unlawful user of nor addicted to any drugs while purchasing a firearm on October 12, 2018, despite being addicted to crack cocaine at the time. Hunter Biden has publicly acknowledged his past struggles with addiction and drug abuse, including a July 2019 article in the New Yorker where he admitted, “Everybody has trauma. There’s addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. … You don’t get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it.”

Hunter Biden is charged with two counts of making false statements on the federal firearm purchase forms and one count of owning a firearm while using drugs. The first two counts carry with them a maximum penalty of 10 years prison, while the third count carries a maximum penalty of five years. There is also a maximum fine of $250,000 attached to all three counts.

In an interview with CNN on Thursday evening, Hunter Biden lawyer Abbe Lowell claimed that his client was only charged because of political pressure from Republican lawmakers. He went on to say, “Hunter Biden possessing an unloaded gun for 11 days was not a threat to public safety, but a prosecutor, with all the power imaginable, bending to political pressure presents a grave threat to our system of justice.”

Weiss has not commented on the indictment.

There has been increasing political pressure on the Biden family since US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden earlier this week. The inquiry stems from widely reported accounts of Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. Republican lawmakers also expressed frustration with Hunter Biden’s earlier attempted plea deal in June after a whistleblower from the Internal Revenue Service suggested that federal officials slow-walked the investigation into him.