Hunter Biden presses for delay in federal gun trial set to begin next month


WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden pressed for a delay in his federal gun case on Monday, asking an appeals court to pause the Delaware trial set to begin next month.

Defense attorneys for the president’s son argued there isn’t an urgent need to start the trial on the June 3 date set by the federal judge overseeing the case. They also cite the short time between the Delaware trial and the start of another trial on tax charges in California.

Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun that he kept for about 11 days in Delaware. He has acknowledged an addiction to crack cocaine during that period, but his lawyers have said he didn’t break the law.

The lawyers are asking the full 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear a bid to dismiss the prosecution. It was rejected by a three-judge panel that did not rule on the merits of his claims, but said the court doesn’t have jurisdiction to review the matter.

The lawyers are also appealing a separate decision from U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika rejecting a claim that the case violates the Constitution’s Second Amendment on firearm ownership.

Those rulings paved the way for the Justice Department to bring President Joe Biden’s son to trial in the midst of the president’s reelection campaign. Hunter Biden is separately charged in the tax case in California that is tentatively scheduled to go to trial in late June.

The investigation had looked ready to wrap up with a plea deal last year, but the agreement imploded after a judge raised questions about it. Biden was subsequently indicted.

Under the deal, he would have gotten two years’ probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges. He also would have avoided prosecution on the gun charge if he stayed out of trouble.

His attorneys have argued that prosecutors bowed to political pressure to indict him amid heavy criticism of the plea deal from Donald Trump and other Republicans. They had also challenged the appointment of Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss as special counsel to lead the prosecution.

Prosecutors countered the evidence against him was “overwhelming,” including cocaine residue found in the pouch where he stored his gun.

Noreika, who was appointed to the bench by former President Trump, said that the defense had provided “nothing credible” to suggest that lawmakers or anyone else had any impact on the special counsel, adding: “It is all speculation.”

The separate tax counts in Los Angeles allege Hunter Biden failed to pay at least $1.4 million in taxes over three years while living an “extravagant lifestyle,” during his days of using drugs. He is separately challenging rulings rejecting his motions to dismiss those charges.

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