Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, departs the J. Caleb Boggs
Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Wilmington, Del., on
July 26, 2023. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden’s son may be charged with a felony gun crime, according to a new filing from U.S. prosecutors.
Prosecutors plan to ask a grand jury to indict Hunter Biden for the crime soon, special counsel David Weiss’s team said in a Sept. 6 filing.
“The Speedy Trial Act requires that the Government obtain the return of an indictment by a grand jury by Friday, September 29, 2023, at the earliest. The Government intends to seek the return of an indictment in this case before that date,” Mr. Weiss’s team told a federal court in Delaware.
Mr. Biden, 50, possessed a firearm in October 2018 despite being addicted to an illegal drug, a violation of federal law, prosecutors have said.
They agreed to allow him to enter pretrial diversion agreement but that deal has fallen apart.
A conviction could land Mr. Biden in prison for up to 10 years.
Mr. Biden’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Biden’s lawyers said in a separate filing on Wednesday that he is following and will continue to follow the terms of the diversion agreement.
U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika, the judge overseeing the case, had ordered the parties to provide updates to her by Sept. 6.
She made the order under the Speedy Trial Act, which requires the filing of an indictment soon after an arrest or summons.
Mr. Biden was charged with the felony count on June 20.
That same day, Mr. Weiss said that Mr. Biden had agreed to plead guilty to separate tax charges and enter the pretrial diversion agreement for the firearm charge.
During a hearing in the tax case, Judge Noreika learned the diversion agreement featured promises from prosecutors to not pursue additional charges, which eventually led to Mr. Biden pleading not guilty to the tax charges.
Prosecutors then said the diversion agreement was not in effect because it has not been signed by Margaret Bray, the U.S. probation officer for Delaware, who would be acting at the judge’s direction.
Ms. Bray has not signed the agreement, according to a version of the agreement made public by the government.
Because the agreement never went into effect, “none of its terms are binding on either party,” Mr. Weiss said in a previous filing.
Mr. Biden’s representatives have represented otherwise.
“The defendant intends to abide by the terms of the diversion agreement,” they wrote in an earlier filing, alleging the parties “have a valid and binding bilateral diversion agreement.”
They provided a copy of the agreement signed by Leo Wise, a special assistant U.S. attorney working with Mr. Weiss; Mr. Biden; and Mr. Biden’s former lawyer Christopher Clark.
Mr. Weiss was appointed under President Donald Trump as a U.S. attorney. Attorney General Merrick Garland, appointed by President Biden, named Mr. Weiss as special counsel this year.
The agreement stipulates that Mr. Biden comply with certain conditions, including not purchasing or possessing a gun for 24 months.
In a statement accompanying the agreement, Mr. Biden admitted using crack and powder cocaine starting in 2016 and becoming “a habitual user” the following year.
Mr. Biden used the drugs “frequently and regularly” through May 2019.
In October 2018, Mr. Biden admitted to purchasing a firearm after checking a box on a federal form that falsely said he was not a user of or addicted to illegal drugs.
Mr. Biden possessed the gun from Oct. 12 to Oct. 23 before it was discarded in a trashcan outside a supermarket in Delaware, according to the statement.
President Biden has declined to comment on the probe into his son.
“I have no comment on any investigation that’s going on,” he told reporters during a recent press conference. “That’s up to the Justice Department, and that’s all I have to say.”
Tax Charges Dropped
After Mr. Biden pleaded not guilty to intentionally not paying taxes, the parties tried to hammer out a new deal but failed.
That prompted prosecutors to ask Judge Noreika, another appointee of President Trump, to dismiss the charges.
They said that the venue was not appropriate and indicated they intend to file the charges again elsewhere.
“The government, in the exercise of its prosecutorial discretion, is considering what tax charges to bring in another district and may elect to bring the same charges set forth in the instant information or different ones,” prosecutors said in the filing.
The judge agreed with the request and threw out the charges on Aug. 17.
According to the indictment in the tax case, Mr. Biden received more than $3 million across 2017 and 2018 and failed to pay more than $200,000 in income tax on his earnings.
The charges were misdemeanors that each carried a maximum of one year in prison.