Hunter Biden was expected to plead not guilty during a Tuesday arraignment after he was indicted last month on federal weapons charges for allegedly lying that he was drug-free on a federal form required to purchase a handgun. File Photo by Julia Nikhinson/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty in federal court in Delaware Tuesday to face three felony gun charges more than two months after plea negotiations to dismiss the case fell apart.
The son of President Joe Biden formally entered the plea during the arraignment after he was indicted last month on federal weapons charges for allegedly lying on federal forms that he was not on drugs when he purchased a .38-caliber handgun in 2018.
Biden traveled from his home in California to Wilmington, Del., after Judge Maryellen Noreika ordered him to appear for the arraignment in person after first denying a request by defense attorney Abbe Lowell to allow Biden to enter his plea by video conference.
During Tuesday's proceeding at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building, Biden will be asked if he understands his rights on the gun charges before he enters a plea.
The court will then set terms for bail and schedule a date for the trial to begin.
Biden is the first child of a sitting president to face federal charges.
The misdemeanor tax charges he faces stem from his alleged failure to pay federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018, despite owing more than $100,000 in taxes in each of those years.
The weapons charges were reinstated after Special Counsel David Weiss struck a deal with Hunter Biden's lawyers in June to dismiss the gun counts and remove the possibility of imprisonment if the president's son pleaded guilty to tax crimes.
Instead, the agreement was called off the following month as the presiding judge raised questions about the deal, and whether Biden would still agree to the terms if there was potential for additional charges against him in the future.
At the time, Biden stood in the same courtroom he is due to appear again Tuesday, with the intent of pleading guilty to the tax offenses, but changed course and pleaded not guilty after the judge called his plea deal "unusual."
The move was a legal gamble as Biden could now face additional tax charges as well as charges related to his offshore business deals, including possible violations of foreign lobbying statutes.
Biden has acknowledged that he was addicted to narcotics in October 2018 when he purchased the handgun from a firearms dealer in New Castle County.
The gun charges alone carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison, however, Biden was not expected to receive a severe sentence if found guilty because this was his first offense.
The arraignment comes the week after the House Oversight Committee launched impeachment hearings in an effort to connect President Biden's wealth to his son's unethical business practices while he served on the board of Burisma from 2014 to 2019.
GOP lawmakers leading the hearings have yet to prove that any money paid to the younger Biden ever benefited the president or anyone else in the Biden family.