An attorney for Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, said Friday that he believes the felony gun charges that threaten to land his client behind bars for many years were brought due to political pressure and will be dismissed.
'Innocent Has Three Legs'Mr. Lowell told Good Morning America that 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 Mr. Biden 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.
Prosecutors have alleged that Mr. Biden violated federal law by possessing a firearm in October 2018 despite being addicted to illicit drugs.
Mr. Biden had 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 jail time in exchange for certain conditions.
But 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, Mr. Biden 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, per 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.
Political Pressure?In making a case for why the charges against Mr. Biden will be dismissed, Mr. Lowell said he believes that the charges were only brought due to political pressure.
"Hunter owned an unloaded gun for 11 days. There will never have been a charge like this brought in the United States," Mr. Lowell told CNN in a Sept. 14 interview.
"It is the folks like Chairman Comer and the Republican MAGA crazies who have been pressuring this U.S. Attorney to do something to vindicate their political position and guess what, they succeeded," Mr. Lowell added.
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) has been leading a corruption investigation against the Biden family, focusing on ties between President Joe Biden and Hunter Biden's overseas business dealings.
"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 against Mr. Biden.
"What about tax evasion? What about money laundering? What about violation of the Foreign Registration Act? And the list goes on," Mr. Comer continued, listing other allegations he believes should be brought against the president's son.
In his interview with Good Morning America, Mr. Lowell said that prosecutors were aware of all the facts after a five-year investigation and that the only change since then has been a shift in the law—in favor of the defense.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office has known about this for years. No charges. When they found out about it and made a deal,” Mr. Lowell said.
“What changed? Not the facts, not the law, but all the politics that have now come into play,” he added.
He 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 Mr. Weiss said in a separate filing that because the agreement never went into effect, "none of its terms are binding on either party."
The IndictmentCourt documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (pdf) on Sept. 14 show that Mr. Biden was indicted on three counts in connection with allegations that he made false statements to a gun dealer and possessed a firearm while using drugs.
Two of the counts relate to allegations that Mr. Biden "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—carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release.
The indictment was signed by Mr. Weiss, who was appointed to lead the investigation by Mr. Garland.
Plea DealThe diversion agreement under which Mr. Biden would have pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and agreed to take part in a program to avoid prosecution on gun-related charges collapsed at a July hearing in what was a stunning turn of events.
The indictment came just days after House Republicans moved to open an impeachment inquiry of President Biden that relates to his son's foreign business dealings.
Reactions to the indictment were swift on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.
"He had a plea deal that was the deal of the century," President Trump said.
On Capitol Hill, Mr. Comer, who's heading a corruption investigation into the Biden family, told The Epoch Times that the indictment is a minor development against the bigger backdrop of the committee's probe.
"This is the least of all the crimes [Hunter Biden has] committed and the one crime that you can't tie his father into," he said, adding that his committee's investigation is focused on President Biden.
"We'll see what Weiss is going to do with those, but I don't think anyone that's keeping up with this investigation that wants to see the truth come out is real impressed with this indictment," Mr. Comer said.
He also criticized the collapsed plea deal saying that prosecutors were going to give Mr. Biden "blanket immunity" and that the investigative work of House Republicans in the Biden family probe may have played a role in the plea deal being rejected by the judge.
"But again, this is a drop in the bucket when you consider the crimes that this man has committed," Mr. Comer said, referring to the gun charges.
Democrats lamented that the indictment 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 engulfing Mr. Biden.