U.S. President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was criminally charged on Thursday with deceiving a gun dealer into selling him a firearm, in the latest sign of how the younger Biden’s legal woes may weigh on his father’s re-election bid next year.
The first-ever indictment of a sitting president’s child, filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware, charged Hunter Biden with three criminal counts related to lying about the fact he was using illegal drugs at that time, which would have banned him under the law from owning a firearm.
The charges ensure that courtroom drama will play an outsized role in the 2024 U.S. presidential campaign as Joe Biden, 80, seeks reelection in a likely rematch with his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, 77, who faces four upcoming criminal trials of his own.
The new charges against Hunter Biden brought by recently elevated U.S. Special Counsel David Weiss say nothing about any violations of U.S. tax law. A prior deal under which Hunter Biden, 53, would have pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and enroll in a program to avoid prosecution on the gun charge collapsed in a stunning turn in a July hearing.
The tax investigation into Biden remains ongoing, after Weiss previously said any possible charges would need to be brought in either the District of Columbia or the Los Angeles-based Central District of California.
Prosecutors accused the younger Biden of lying about his use of narcotics when he purchased a Colt Cobra handgun in October 2018.
The move comes two days after House of Representatives Republicans opened an impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden related to Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. The White House has denounced that step, made without a vote by the full House, as unsubstantiated and politically motivated.