Hunter Biden to plead not guilty to gun charges, wants to appear remotely for first hearing: lawyer

Biden's attorneys say they think the plea deal that prosecutors dropped precludes the firearms charges from being filed against him.

Published: September 19, 2023 9:32am

Updated: September 19, 2023 6:27pm

Hunter Biden's lawyer told a federal judge on Tuesday his client plans to plead not guilty to three felony firearms charges but would like to skip appearing personally for his next court appearance.

President Joe Biden's son "will enter a plea of not guilty, and there is no reason why he cannot utter those two words by video conference," defense lawyer Abbe Lowell wrote to U.S. District Judge Christopher Burke in a letter made public later Tuesday in the court files.

"In short, Mr. Biden is satisfied that his constitutional rights will be met by conducting his initial appearance by video conference," Lowell added.

Biden's desire to appear remotely by video conference was signaled late Monday in a docket entry that Burke wrote. The judge also wrote that the "Government opposes the request."

Lowell further argued a remote appearance would save taxpayers money, since it would not require the first's son Secret Service detail to protect the courthouse.

"Given these reasons, Mr. Biden also seeks this procedure to minimize an unnecessary burden on government resources and the disruption to the courthouse and downtown areas when a person protected by the Secret Service flies across the country and then must be transported to and from a downtown location," the letter said.

You can read the full letter here.

Burke had asked prosecutors and defense attorneys to give their opinions by Wednesday about how the initial appearance for President Joe Biden's son should be handled.

While Burke is presiding over the arraignment, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika is overseeing the case. Noreika is the same judge who shut down the government's plea deal in July with Biden on misdemeanor tax charges and a pre-trial diversion agreement on the firearms charges after she questioned the deal's constitutionality. That deal would have spared Hunter Biden prison time, something the new charges carry.

U.S. Attorney David Weiss was appointed as special counsel over the case last month and the next week, Biden's attorney said prosecutors reneged on the plea deal. However, that has not stopped Lowell from arguing that the new firearms charges should not be allowed under the deal, which prosecutors said never went into effect.

"We believe these charges are barred by the agreement the prosecutors made with Mr. Biden," Lowell said last week, according to CNN.

Biden would have to travel from his home in California to Delaware for his first appearance on the charges if the judge rejects the request for a remote appearance.

The first son is not the only public figure to recently request a virtual appearance. Former President Donald Trump appeared remotely in Manhattan earlier this year as he faces state felony charges over the alleged falsification of business records, to which he pleaded not guilty.

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