Washington-President Biden’s son, is scheduled to appear in person for his arraignment on three gun-related criminal charges, scheduled for Oct. 3, according to a court order issued Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Christopher Burke of the federal district court in Delaware said in his brief order that the president’s son “should not receive special treatment in this manner – barring unusual circumstances,” and therefore must be physically present during of his initial appearance and his indictment.
Hunter Biden’s lawyers had asked the court to hold the proceedings by videoconference, writing in a letter to Burke that “the financial impact on government resources and the logistical burden on downtown Wilmington are significant in having him travel through the country for what is necessary.” should be a rather short procedure. Hunter Biden currently lives in California and the courthouse is in Wilmington.
They said that whether his appearance is virtual or in person, Hunter Biden would waive the reading of the indictment.last week and pleaded not guilty to all three charges against him.
“In short, Mr. Biden is confident that his constitutional rights will be respected by conducting his initial appearance via videoconference,” Hunter Biden’s lawyers wrote.
They also said Hunter Biden was requesting that the proceeding be conducted by videoconference to “minimize an unnecessary burden on government resources and disruption to the courthouse and downtown areas” when a person receiving federal protection Secret Service files across the country and must be transported to and from a downtown location. Such a trip would require officers and vehicles in California and Delaware, and attending in person would also require closing Wilmington roads, the attorneys said.
“Mr. Biden is not seeking any special treatment in making this request,” they wrote. “He has and will attend any proceeding in which his physical appearance is required.”
Special Counsel David Weiss, who is overseeing the case against Hunter Biden, objected to the request for an initial appearance and virtual arraignment, noting that since June 2022, when an order allowing videoconferencing due to COVID-19 pandemic has expired, the court has “almost always” made in-person appearances.
“An in-person hearing is important to provide the public with confidence that the defendant is being treated the same as other defendants in this and other districts,” Weiss and his team’s prosecutors wrote in a letter addressed to the court.
They said that while the procedure should be “simple,” an in-person procedure “may be more conducive to resolving any unforeseen issues that arise.”
Hunter Biden was charged with three counts related to his purchase of a firearm, a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver, in October 2018 while he was a drug user, according to the charging document. The first count alleges that the president’s son knowingly made a false statement on the form required for the purchase of firearms, on which he certified that he was not an illegal user of narcotics.
Prosecutors said he also made a false statement to the Wilmington-based gun dealer who sold the gun to Hunter Biden and knowingly possessed the gun during an 11-day period in October 2018 while he was an illegal drug user, in violation of federal law.
All three counts are felonies, and if Hunter Biden is convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.