Prosecutors in Delaware brought three gun-related charges against Hunter Biden on Thursday, with a grand jury indicting the president’s son after special counsel David Weiss said he would pursue charges following the evaporation of a plea deal.
The court filings detail charges Hunter Biden would have entered a diversion program for under the failed plea agreement, charging him with failing to disclose drug use when seeking to buy a weapon — resulting in two charges — as well as for unlawful possession of a firearm while addicted to a controlled substance.
The most serious charges carry up to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
The indictment does not list any tax crimes — a matter that also would have been covered by the agreement that would have had Biden plead guilty to two charges of willful failure to pay taxes.
Weiss, who is also the U.S. attorney for Delaware, was elevated to special counsel status in August, shortly after discussion around the plea agreement broke down, signaling he may instead seek to bring charges outside the state.
Weiss suggested those charges could come in D.C. or California — two venues where IRS agents who spoke to Congress about the investigation claimed they found the stronger evidence of tax crimes.
The two whistleblowers also claimed the investigation was slow-walked by the Justice Department — a key thread Republicans are investigating in their broader impeachment inquiry.
Weiss indicated this month he would bring an indictment against Biden before the end of September.
In the same round of filings, Biden’s attorneys said their client was still abiding by the terms of the diversion agreement surrounding the gun charge, signaling they expected that provision to remain in effect.
Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while the White House referred questions to the Department of Justice.
The charges come the same week that House Republicans kicked off an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, who they allege improperly interfered in Ukraine to benefit his son when he served on the board of energy company Burisma.
The White House has denied any wrongdoing, including an unproven allegation from Republicans that the president may have accepted a bribe from a Ukrainian oligarch.
Some Democrats have sought to distance Hunter Biden’s legal woes from the challenges facing the president.
“The evidence suggests Hunter Biden is guilty of unethical and/or illegal behavior. The evidence suggests Joe Biden is guilty of absolutely nothing more than being a father,” Rep. Dean Philips (D-Minn.) wrote in a Tuesday post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Thursday’s indictment alleges that Hunter Biden lied on a form when seeking to purchase a Colt Cobra 38SPL, denying any drug use.
“Robert Hunter Biden certified on the Form 4473 that he was not an unlawful user of, an addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, and any other controlled substance, when in fact, as he knew, that statement was false and fictitious,” prosecutors wrote in the filing.
Hunter Biden has acknowledged his struggles with addiction, including in a memoir where he said he was at one point using crack cocaine daily.
President Biden has also spoken publicly about his son’s addiction, including in response to attacks from Republicans like former President Trump, who brought the issue up at a 2020 debate.
“My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem,” President Biden said at the time. “He’s overtaken it, he’s fixed it, he’s worked on it, and I’m proud of him.”
—Updated at 3:16 p.m.