The son of United States President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, is set to appear in a federal court in Delaware on Tuesday and enter a not guilty plea to three felony charges of illegally possessing a handgun.
The 53-year-old lawyer and artist is accused of lying on forms required for buying a .38-caliber Colt Cobra revolver in 2018, when he was using drugs illegally. He is also charged with illegally possessing the gun, which he had for only 11 days in October 2018 before it was disposed of.
According to AFP, his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has informed the court that Hunter Biden plans to plead not guilty at the arraignment at 10:00 am (1400 GMT) at a federal courthouse in Wilmington, the hometown of the Bidens.
Lowell had also asked Judge Christopher Burke to allow Hunter Biden, who lives in California, to appear by video instead of in person, but the request was denied.
“The defendant should not receive any special treatment in this matter,” Burke wrote in his ruling.
The gun charges came after a plea deal with federal prosecutor David Weiss, which would have dropped the gun charges while Hunter Biden pleaded guilty to two tax charges and avoided prison, fell apart in July.
Weiss, who was appointed as special counsel for the Hunter Biden probe after the plea deal collapsed, has indicated that he is still investigating Hunter Biden on possible tax charges.
Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings in Ukraine and China while his father was vice president under Barack Obama have been a constant target of Republican attacks.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, succumbing to pressure from the party’s hard right, authorized the launch of an impeachment investigation into the president last month.
However, Hunter Biden has not been charged with any crimes related to his foreign business dealings, and no credible evidence has emerged so far that his father was involved in anything illegal.
Hunter Biden has struggled with alcoholism and crack cocaine addiction throughout his life. His legal troubles threaten to overshadow his father’s campaign for reelection next year.
The 80-year-old president has stood firmly by his only surviving son throughout his personal and legal challenges, saying in an interview earlier this year that Hunter has “done nothing wrong.”
“I trust him. I have faith in him,” Joe Biden said.