Special counsel David Weiss, who is investigating the younger Biden on tax-related matters, last month secured a grand jury indictment on three gun charges related to his purchase of a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver in October 2018.
The president’s son has not been indicted on the tax-related matters, which were key to a plea agreement with the Justice Department that was shot down by a federal judge last summer.
Hunter Biden’s arraignment Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware occurred less than a week after the House Oversight and Accountability Committee held its first hearing in an impeachment inquiry targeting the president over evidence of influence peddling by Biden family members.
If convicted on the gun charges, the younger Biden faces a maximum of 25 years in prison, but that appears unlikely.
The indictment accuses Hunter Biden of making a false statement on a gun-purchase form to a federally licensed firearms dealer when he denied his own drug use. The indictment also charges Hunter with unlawful possession of a firearm because of that drug use.
The younger Biden’s legal team is expected to challenge the constitutionality of the charge, and that might have legal merit, according to Paul Kamenar, counsel for the National Legal and Policy Center, a watchdog group.
Kamenar noted that a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit reversed the conviction of a man for possessing a gun when using a controlled substance—in that case, marijuana.
However, Biden still could be in trouble for lying on a federal form, he said.
The younger Biden wrote about his addiction to crack cocaine and other drugs in a memoir and has talked about it in select media interviews.
“His challenge on possession of the gun itself may have merit,” Kamenar told The Daily Signal. “But the law still prohibits him from lying on a federal form. That is just as much of a felony.”
Weiss hasn’t brought charges against Hunter Biden in connection with potential financial crimes such as tax fraud or violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act as a result of his business dealings in China, Ukraine, Russia, and other foreign countries.
“The larger issue is where are the tax charges? The gun charges may be the icing on the cake, but I want to see the cake,” Kamenar said. “Why is it taking Weiss so long to bring these charges in D.C. and California? We were told that’s why he was named as special counsel. Where are the FARA charges? That is what could directly implicate Joe Biden and the White House.”
The three federal gun charges come after the initial plea agreement, in which Hunter Biden accepted misdemeanor charges over tax and gun offenses, fell apart. The younger Biden was set to plead guilty to those charges, but District Judge Maryellen Noreika in July asked several questions about the scope of the deal.
Defense lawyers and prosecutors disagreed on whether the plea deal shielded the president’s son from future prosecution. After that, the deal collapsed and Biden pleaded not guilty.
In August, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss as special counsel. Weiss previously conducted the probe as U.S. attorney for Delaware, a position to which he was appointed by then-President Donald Trump with the endorsement of the state’s two Democratic senators.
Weiss began the Biden probe in 2018 as a tax investigation.
The indictment alleges that from Oct. 12 through Oct. 23, 2018, the president’s son, “knowing that he was an unlawful user of and addicted to any stimulant, narcotic drug, and any other controlled substance … did knowingly possess a firearm, that is, a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver with serial number RA 551363, said firearm having been shipped and transported in interstate commerce.”
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The post Hunter Biden May Have 2nd Amendment Defense on Gun Charge, but Not for Lying, Legal Expert Says appeared first on The Daily Signal.
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