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Hunter Biden requests new trial on federal gun charges less than 2 weeks after conviction

In court papers filed Monday, the president's son's lawyer argued his client's "convictions should be vacated" due to a jurisdiction issue.
Hunter Biden
Posted at 7:08 PM, Jun 24, 2024

Lawyers for Hunter Biden have requested a new trial for their client, arguing the Delaware court that convicted him did not have jurisdiction over the case.

A jury unanimously found the president's son guilty on June 11 of the three felony charges he faced for lying about his drug use on a 2018 federal gun-purchase form. According to the charges, Biden would not have been allowed to purchase the gun if he had disclosed his drug use.

In their motion, filed Monday, Biden's lawyers did not argue the merits of the case but rather claimed their client deserved a new trial on all counts because the court was "divested of jurisdiction" due to pending rulings in his federal appeals case.

Of the two ultimately rejected appeal attempts Biden filed to prevent the trial, attorney Abbe Lowell said the judge overseeing his client's case has yet to issue a formal mandate denying one of them.

"It is black-letter law that '[t]he action of a court of appeals does not become final until its mandate is issued,'" Lowell wrote. "Naturally, any district court action taken after it has been divested of jurisdiction by an appeal must be vacated."

Related: Juror in Hunter Biden case speaks out, says president's son shouldn't go to jail

In a separate filing Monday, Biden's lawyers argued their client's conviction was in question — requiring acquittal or a new trial "at a minimum" — due to a recent Supreme Court decision regarding firearm possession.

The ruling Friday in U.S. v. Rahimi upheld a federal ban on domestic abusers owning guns, stating "when an individual has been found by a court to pose a credible threat to the physical safety of another, that individual may be temporarily disarmed consistent with the Second Amendment."

Biden's lawyers argue that because there was no judicial finding of his "dangerousness" — and that the Rahimi case "clearly rejected" the argument that drug use is a basis for disarmament — Biden is entitled to an acquittal or new trial.

A sentencing date has yet to be announced in Biden's case. He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison but will likely face up to 21 months as he is a first-time offender, per federal sentencing guidelines.