Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, will plead not guilty to three criminal charges relating to allegations that he illegally possessed a firearm while addicted to controlled substances.
In a letter to the judge obtained by The Epoch Times, Mr. Biden's attorney, Abbe Lowell, stated that his client intended to enter a not-guilty plea while asking that the initial court appearance be held remotely.
A conviction on all three charges could land him behind bars for as long as 25 years.
Mr. Lowell wrote in the Sept. 19 letter to Judge Christopher J. Burke, a U.S. magistrate judge at the U.S. District Court in Delaware, that his client wishes to waive reading of the indictment, "which is merely a few pages and could easily be read at a video conference."
"Mr. Biden will enter a plea of not guilty, and there is no reason why he cannot utter those two words by video conference," Mr. Lowell wrote, adding that his client, being President Biden's son, isn't "seeking any special treatment" in making the request and merely wants to "minimize an unnecessary burden on government resources and the disruption to the courthouse and downtown areas."
Initially, Mr. Biden's legal team made the request for their client to appear remotely, but prosecutors opposed it, with Judge Burke saying in an oral order on Sept. 18 that the request should be made in writing, while giving prosecutors until Sept. 20 to respond.
The ChargesThe criminal charges facing the president's son date back to 2018 and relate to his purchase and possession of a handgun.
Two of the counts relate to allegations that he "knowingly made a false and fictitious written statement, intended and likely to deceive" a gun dealer when he sought to buy a firearm in October 2018.
He "provided a written statement on Form 4473 certifying he wasn't an unlawful user of, and addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, and any other controlled substance, when in fact, as he knew, that statement was false and fictitious," the indictment reads.
The third count relates to his possession of a Colt Cobra 38PL revolver while using and being addicted to drugs, which, like the other two counts, is in violation of sections of Title 18 of the U.S. Code.
The most serious of the charges—counts one and three—each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release.
'Dismissed Before Trial'?In an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Sept. 15, Mr. Lowell said his client has a strong three-pronged defense and the charges against him will be "dismissed before trial."
He said he believes prosecutors were bending to political pressure in bringing the charges, though he didn't claim that his client is "innocent" in a conventional sense.
"Well, 'innocent' has three legs to it," Mr. Lowell said, responding to a question from the interviewer, who asked if he was maintaining that the president's son is actually innocent of the charges.
"First, there's an agreement in place where this charge should have been brought. Second, the statute is likely unconstitutional, and third, on the facts, we think we'll have a defense," Mr. Lowell said.
Mr. Biden earlier agreed with prosecutors to enter a so-called diversion agreement for the gun charge, which would have averted a criminal trial and allowed him to avoid prison time in exchange for certain conditions.
Republicans objected to what they described as a sweetheart deal, which ultimately fell apart in court when a judge objected to some of its terms.
In the statement, he also admitted to purchasing a firearm in October 2018 after checking a box on a federal form that falsely said he wasn't a user of or addicted to illegal drugs.
He possessed the gun from Oct. 12 to Oct. 23, 2018, before it was discarded in a trashcan outside a supermarket in Delaware, according to the statement.
In his interview on Good Morning America, Mr. Lowell provided more details about his client's defense, though he didn't elaborate on the evidence that his team is prepared to present in court.
“The evidence will be presented when and if there is a trial,” he said.
Mr. Lowell also challenged the constitutionality of the criminal statutes cited in the indictment, which stipulate that it's a crime to lie on a gun application form or to possess a firearm as a drug user.
“The only change that has occurred between when they investigated [this alleged crime] and today is that the law changed," Mr. Lowell said. "But the law didn't change in favor of the prosecution. The law changed against it."Mr. Lowell also suggested that the diversion agreement's terms were still in effect, in line with earlier court filings by the defense team, though U.S. Attorney David Weiss said in a separate filing that because the agreement never went into effect, "none of its terms are binding on either party."
Asked by the interviewer whether he thinks that a plea deal is still possible if the case goes to trial, Mr. Lowell said he believes the case will be dismissed.
Democrats lamented that the indictment of Mr. Biden would likely be damaging politically to President Biden.
"I think it hurts the president politically that his son is now going through something like this," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told Epoch Times reporters on Capitol Hill.
Still, Mr. Schiff said that he hopes that voters will "distinguish between the president and his son" and judge President Biden on his record rather than be swayed by the scandals involving his family.
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.), who has been leading a corruption investigation against the Biden family, reacted to the charges last week by saying it's a pity that more charges weren't brought against the president's son.
"This is the least of all the crimes [Hunter Biden has] committed, and the one crime that you can't tie his father into," Mr. Comer told The Epoch Times in a brief interview on Capitol Hill following the announcement of the charges. "What about tax evasion? What about money laundering? What about violation of the Foreign Registration Act? And the list goes on."
The indictment came just days after House Republicans moved to open an impeachment inquiry of President Biden that relates to Mr. Biden's foreign business dealings.