US District Judge Rejects Biden’s Plea to Postpone Prosecution

US District Judge Rejects Biden’s Plea to Postpone Prosecution

President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden | Credits: Reuters

United States: Hunter Biden, son of the president, faces impending trial next month in a federal gun case, as asserted by a judge on Tuesday. The plea by the president’s son’s attorneys to postpone the prosecution was declined.

US District Judge Maryellen Noreika rebuffed Hunter Biden’s plea to defer the trial in Delaware until September, a request grounded on the necessity to coordinate witnesses and review evidence furnished by prosecutors. The judge expressed confidence that all essential tasks can be accomplished before the trial’s commencement on June 3, as reported by AP. 

Later on Tuesday, a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court affirmed the continuation of the tax case against him, slated for trial in California on June 20. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed efforts by the defense to dismiss the case.

These rulings imply that Joe Biden’s son might confront trial next month in two criminal cases on opposite coasts amidst his father’s reelection campaign.

In Delaware, Hunter Biden stands accused of falsehoods regarding his substance use in October 2018 on a form to procure a firearm, which he retained for approximately 11 days. He has entered a plea of not guilty, acknowledging struggles with crack cocaine addiction during that timeframe in 2018. However, his legal representatives assert his innocence.

Special Counsel David Weiss intends to present excerpts from Hunter Biden’s 2021 memoir, “Beautiful Things,” during the gun case trial. These passages detail his battle with alcoholism and substance abuse following the demise of his older brother, Beau, in 2015 due to brain cancer. Hunter Biden claims to have maintained sobriety since 2019.

During a session in Delaware federal court, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, informed the judge of the reluctance of many experts approached by the defense to testify, citing media attention. Prosecutor Derek Hines contested the notion that media scrutiny was deterring experts, according to reports by AP. 

“It’s documented in his memoir; he was entrenched in addiction,” Hines remarked. “I doubt they’ll find an expert to refute that. That appears to be the crux of their dilemma.”

Lowell clarified that the defense was not seeking experts to contest Biden’s addiction struggles but to explore the capacity for self-awareness in recognizing addiction. Hunter Biden was not obliged to attend Tuesday’s hearing and did not do so.

The defense contends that political pressures, particularly from Republicans, influenced the indictment, asserting that Hunter Biden was initially offered favorable treatment. However, Noreika, appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump, rejected claims of political bias last month, along with other attempts to dismiss the case. Although Hunter Biden’s attorney indicated an intention to pursue an appeal, a three-judge panel of the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed last week that the case could proceed to trial, according to the Associated Press. 

Subsequently, his legal team filed a motion seeking to halt the prosecution, once again citing improper approval of the special counsel’s funding by Congress. The judge dismissed a motion to dismiss on those grounds the previous month.

In California, Hunter Biden faces charges of three felonies and six misdemeanors related to unpaid taxes amounting to at least USD 1.4 million between 2016 and 2019. Prosecutors allege lavish spending rather than tax payment. The outstanding taxes have since been settled.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers appealed to the 9th Circuit following the denial of eight motions to dismiss the indictment by US District Judge Mark Scarsi last month. The appeals court panel refrained from ruling on the merits of his claims but indicated that these issues are not subject to appeal presently.

He was expected to plead guilty last year to misdemeanor tax offenses, which would have preempted prosecution in the gun case had he stayed clear of legal entanglements for two years. This would have culminated a lengthy federal investigation into the business dealings of the president’s son, sparing the Bidens from prolonged public scrutiny as the 2024 election approached, as reported by Associated Press.

However, the agreement fell apart after the judge tasked with approving it raised numerous questions.

In the Delaware case, he faces charges of making false statements, first for falsely denying drug addiction and second for submitting false information to the shop’s records. Another charge alleges possession of the firearm for approximately 11 days despite awareness of drug use.

In California, he faces three felonies and six misdemeanors for unpaid taxes between 2016 and 2019, amounting to at least USD 1.4 million. Prosecutors allege extravagant spending rather than tax compliance. The overdue taxes have since been settled.