Hunter Biden’s trial date on federal gun charges set

The federal firearms case accusing President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, of lying about his previous drug use to obtain a handgun is expected to go to trial in early June, a judge in Wilmington, Delaware decided.

At a status conference on Wednesday, District Judge Maryellen Noreika set a tentative start date for the week of 3 June for the trial.

Hunter Biden was indicted on three felony gun charges, falsifying a firearms application, lying to a federally licensed gun dealer and possession of an illegally obtained gun, in September.

Prosecutors allege that Hunter Biden unlawfully possessed a Colt Cobra 38S revolver for 11 days in October 2018, after he falsely claimed on a federal gun purchase form that he didn’t use drugs.

Under federal law, an unlawful drug user cannot legally possess a firearm.

Now, Hunter Biden is facing up to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000 on the charges.

The charges came after a Justice Department’s nearly four-year-long investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings, personal conduct and more.

Last year, federal prosecutors initially struck a plea deal with Hunter Biden –  under the terms of the deal, Hunter Biden had agreed to plead guilty to two tax misdemeanours for failing to pay his taxes on time in 2017 and 2018. In exchange, prosecutors would not charge with him a gun possession violation.

Hunter Biden departs the Capitol following a closed deposition with members of the Republican-led House Oversight Committee (Reuters)
Hunter Biden departs the Capitol following a closed deposition with members of the Republican-led House Oversight Committee (Reuters)

In that case, Hunter Biden is facing nine tax-related criminal charges accusing him of skipping out on more than $1.4m in taxes while enjoying a lavish lifestyle of “exotic cars”, “drugs, escorts and girlfriends”.

The president’s son has pleaded not guilty to the charges in both cases.

Hunter Biden is currently set to go on trial in the California case on 20 June, with the Delaware case now pitted to take place just days earlier.

In Wednesday’s court hearing, Justice Department prosecutors said their case will likely last three to four days while the defence said theirs will take two days.

However, Hunter Biden’s attorney told reporters that they don’t expect the case to make it to trial. The defence has filed multiple motions arguing that the case should be dismissed because part of the plea deal is still valid.

They also allege that Mr Weiss is merely bending to the will of Republican critics who are “weaponising” the case in a bid to damage his father’s re-election campaign.

Judge Noreika has yet to rule on the motions.

Wednesday’s hearing came the same day that Hunter Biden rejected an invitation from House Republicans to testify in a public hearing in the lawmakers’ flailing impeachment inquiry into his father.