Judge Denies Hunter Biden’s Request to Appear Virtually for October 3 Gun Arraignment

President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden leaves after a court appearance, Wednesday, July 26, 2023, in Wilmington, Del. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Julio Cortez/AP

A Delaware judge on Wednesday set Hunter Biden’s first court appearance on felony firearm charges for October 3, denying his request to appear virtually because the 53-year-old California resident “should not receive special treatment in this matter.”

Hunter Biden told the judge he plans to plead not guilty to three gun charges that carry up to 25 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

The president’s son asked the judge allow him to appear virtually, but the judge denied the request, dashing Hunter Biden’s hopes of dispensing with a typical federal arraignment.

“Any other defendant would be required to attend his or her initial appearance in person. So too here,” the judge wrote in a two-page order.

The judge told the president’s son that he “should not receive special treatment in this matter,” and said he could not “recall ever having conducted an initial appearance other than in person.”

“Although initial appearances in criminal matters are often short in duration, our Court has always considered them to be important,” the judge wrote.

Special Counsel David Weiss, who gave Hunter Biden a sweetheart plea deal in July that collapsed under judicial scrutiny, argued for the president’s son to appear in person.

“Although the government anticipates this proceeding should be straightforward since the parties have not reached an agreement to resolve this matter, we believe an in-person proceeding may be more conducive to addressing any unforeseen issues that arise,” he wrote Wednesday.

Weiss charged Hunter Biden last week with one count of false statement in the purchase of a firearm, one count of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and one count of false statement related to information required to be kept by federal firearms licensed dealers.

Hunter Biden’s October arraignment could produce his second mugshot. Federal authorities reportedly captured his mugshot in July, but the photo apparently remains concealed due to Justice Department policy.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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