The three-count indictment says Hunter Biden lied on a form required for every gun purchase when he bought a Colt Cobra special at a Wilmington, Delaware, gun shop in October 2018. He kept that firearm for about 11 days.
He’s acknowledged struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine during that period, but his lawyers have said he didn’t break the law.
Gun charges like these are rare, and an appeals court has found the ban on drug users having guns violates the Second Amendment under new Supreme Court standards.
Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. However, as a first-time offender, he likely won’t receive such a sentence if convicted.
An attorney for Hunter Biden criticized the charges as illegitimate and said his client would plead not guilty.
Hunter Biden’s attorneys previously asked the court to allow him to attend Tuesday’s arraignment via video conference, but prosecutors under David Weiss — an appointee of former President Donald Trump who headed the investigation — argued his in-person appearance was “important to promote the public’s confidence that the defendant is being treated consistently with others.”
Hunter Biden’s attorneys suggested that prosecutors bowed to pressure from Republicans who have insisted the president’s son got a sweetheart deal, and the charges were the result of political pressure.
Now, a special counsel has been appointed to handle the case and there appears no easy end in sight. No new tax charges have yet been filed, but the special counsel has indicated they could come from California or Washington.
A possible criminal trial is likely to take place down the road in Delaware.
Republicans have obtained testimony about how Hunter Biden used the “Biden brand” for influence in overseas deals.
However, there is no hard evidence of wrongdoing by the president.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.