Hunter Biden, the son of the United States President, Joe Biden
In a significant legal development, Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, formally entered a plea of not guilty to three felony gun charges.
This move sets the stage for a potentially high-profile trial, coinciding with his father's reelection bid. The charges have emerged after a yearslong investigation, raising questions about the constitutionality of the case, his prior plea agreement, and the potential impact on President Biden's political career.
Appearing in the same federal courthouse in Delaware where a previous plea deal with prosecutors fell apart over the summer, Hunter Biden declared his not-guilty plea to the three-count indictment.
Attorney Abbe Lowell, representing Biden, signalled the intention to challenge the government's case and its constitutionality. He also suggested elements of the prior plea agreement might still be in effect.
In response to the indictment, Lowell said his client "was not a threat to public safety" when he possessed the unloaded gun and said of special counsel David Weiss that his "bending to political pressure presents a grave threat to our system of justice."
"We believe these charges are barred by the agreement the prosecutors made with Mr Biden, the recent rulings by several federal courts that this statute is unconstitutional, and the facts that he did not violate that law, and we plan to demonstrate all of that in court," he added.
The judge overseeing the case has set a deadline for motions to be filed by both parties on November 3, adding to the legal complexity surrounding this high-profile trial.
This legal battle is one of several fronts where Hunter Biden is entangled in legal disputes. Last week, House Republicans initiated an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, primarily centred on unproven connections between the president's political career and his son's business activities.
Furthermore, Hunter Biden is actively countering his critics and those who claim to possess personal data from a laptop he purportedly left at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2018.
If found guilty of the three gun-related charges, Hunter Biden could face a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison. However, the Justice Department has indicated that any eventual sentence is likely to be less severe than the maximum penalty.