Andrew Caballero-Reynolds Agence France-Presse Hunter Biden, 53, is one of the targets privileged by his father's Republican opponents, starting with his predecessor Donald Trump, who consider him the Achilles heel of the Democratic president.
Sélim Saheb Ettaba – Agence France-Presse and Amel Semmache – Agence France-Presse in Washington and Wilmington
- United States
US President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, pleaded not guilty to illegal possession of a gun in a Delaware federal court on Tuesday.
Hunter Biden, 53, is one of the favorite targets of his father's Republican opponents, starting with his predecessor Donald Trump, who consider him the Achilles heel of the Democratic president.
He is accused of having lied when filling out forms to acquire a firearm in 2018, in which he denied the drug addiction he later admitted to.
He pleaded no guilty during his public arraignment in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware (east), the Biden family's home state, before leaving free.
His lawyer, Abbe Lowell, had indicated that he would plead not guilty and requested that his client, a resident of California (west), be able to appear by videoconference.
But Judge Christopher Burke rejected this request, making argue that this first appearance was “one of the rare occasions in a criminal case during which a defendant physically appears before our court, before a judge.”
In addition, “most of the charges against the defendant are new and were not raised during his previous appearance in July 2023, so this will be the first time they will be discussed in court,” he said. – he emphasized.
If convicted, Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison, but in practice such prosecutions rarely result in prison time on their own.
He reached a guilty plea agreement with prosecutor David Weiss in June covering both tax evasion and illegal firearm acquisition charges, which likely would have allowed him to avoid prison and a trial. embarrassing for him and his father.
But this agreement was canceled following doubts expressed in July by a judge about its validity.
The Republicans, who have a majority in the House of Representatives, began an impeachment inquiry against the Democratic president on September 12, motivated by his son's controversial affairs abroad.
Conservative parliamentarians accuse Hunter Biden of having made questionable deals in Ukraine and China by capitalizing on his father's networks and name.
But they go even further by attributing to a desire to protect the Ukrainian gas group where Hunter Biden sat the pressure exerted on Kiev by his father, as Barack Obama's vice-president, to obtain the dismissal of the Ukrainian prosecutor general in 2016. Viktor Chokine.
The Republicans also accuse the Democratic administration of doing everything to bury the procedures targeting Hunter Biden.
During the hearing of the Minister of Justice Merrick Garland, the September 20, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Republican Jim Jordan, again criticized the appointment in August of David Weiss as special prosecutor to handle cases involving Hunter Biden.
“The guy he knows will protect Joe Biden,” said Jim Jordan.
The minister assured that the prosecutor had complete freedom to conduct his investigation, recalling that Mr. Weiss had been appointed by the Trump administration and remained in his post under Mr. Biden.
Lawyer then businessman, Hunter Biden converted to painting after recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. alcohol.
Joe Biden told MSNBC in May that he had “faith in him” and was “proud” of his son.