Updated Sep 14, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Hunter Biden indicted on federal gun charges

President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, in Wilmington, DE.

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on July 26, in Wilmington, DE. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Hunter Biden was indicted on three counts related to his alleged illegal possession of a firearm, according to a court filing on Thursday.

The big picture: The indictment by special counsel David Weiss comes after plea deal negotiations fell apart last month over two tax misdemeanors and a gun felony against President Biden's son.

  • The indictment was largely expected, as Weiss indicated earlier this month that he was seeking an indictment against Hunter Biden by the end of September.

Driving the news: The charges in the indictment include making false statements on a form when he purchased a firearm in 2018 and possession of a firearm while using a narcotic.

What they're saying: "As expected, prosecutors filed charges today that they deemed were not warranted just six weeks ago following a five-year investigation into this case," Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, said in a statement.

  • "The evidence in this matter has not changed in the last six weeks, but the law has and so has MAGA Republicans' improper and partisan interference in this process."
  • "We believe these charges are barred by the agreement the prosecutors made with Mr. Biden, the recent rulings by several federal courts that this statute is unconstitutional, and the facts that he did not violate that law, and we plan to demonstrate all of that in court," Lowell said.

Zoom out: Hunter Biden's plea deal fell apart in a surprisingly contentious court hearing in July because the two sides couldn't agree on whether the arrangement guaranteed the end of the investigation, Weiss wrote in a filing.

  • The deal included probation for a guilty plea to two tax misdemeanors, and a diversionary agreement on a gun-related felony for owning a weapon while using drugs.
  • The plea agreement hit a snag in court and the judge said she wasn't ready to accept the terms of a revised deal.

Weiss, who was been investigating Hunter Biden since the Trump administration, was elevated to special counsel status last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

  • Garland said that the appointment of Weiss as special counsel came after Weiss said the investigation into the president's son had "reached the stage" where the powers of a special counsel were necessary.

The backdrop: The indictment comes as House Republicans this week launched an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, a marked escalation of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committee investigations into the business dealings of Hunter Biden.

Editor's note: This story was updated with additional information.

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