A federal judge dealt a blow to Hunter Biden on Wednesday, denying his request to appear virtually for his first court hearing as he faces three felony gun charges.
President Joe Biden’s son is set to stand trial in person on Tuesday after a federal grand jury indicted him on gun charges, including one count of possession of a firearm while addicted to a controlled substance in 2018. If convicted, Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison, according to a press release from Special Counsel David Weiss.
The president’s son initially appeared in federal court in Delaware in July, where he planned to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges to avoid prosecution on a felony firearms charge for illegally possessing a firearm as a drug addict. However, the deal, which was heavily criticized by Republicans, fell apart midway through the hearing.
Weekly newspaper Hunter Biden’s attorney and Weiss’ office were contacted via email Wednesday for comment.
Hunter Biden is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington, Delaware, after Weiss announced three federal gun charges last week. J. Burke) first appearance and arraignment.
The president’s son plans to plead not guilty to the gun charges, his attorney, Abbe Lowell, wrote in a letter to a judge on Tuesday. The lawyer told Burke her client was “not seeking any special treatment.”
Lowell asked that he be allowed to appear via video conference rather than in person, saying the “financial impact on government resources and logistical burden” for the president’s son to travel across the country from California would be “significant.”
On Wednesday, Weiss argued that he should be required to appear in person to “enhance public confidence that the president’s son is not receiving special treatment.”
Hours later, Burke rejected Hunter Biden’s request. The judge said he “can’t recall” holding an initial hearing other than in person in the past decade, except during the “emergency” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ultimately, the court agrees with the defendants … and the government,” Burke wrote. “This defendant should not receive special treatment in this matter – barring some unusual circumstances, he should be treated like any other defendant in our court. Any other defendant will be required to appear in person at his or her first court appearance. Same here.”
The gun case is part of several scandals and legal woes plaguing the president’s son as his father campaigns for re-election in 2024.