Hunter Biden loses appeal bid to dismiss criminal gun case in Delaware before trial

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
  • A federal appeals court denied a request by Hunter Biden to dismiss the criminal gun charges against him in Delaware.
  • The 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said the appeal by the son of President Joe Biden was premature.
  • The ruling leaves open the door for him to renew his arguments if he is convicted at trial, scheduled to begin in June.
  • Hunter Biden is accused of three criminal counts related to his purchase of a handgun while being addicted to illegal drugs.
  • He is separately charged by DOJ Special Counsel David Weiss with federal criminal tax charges in Los Angeles federal court.

A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected a request by Hunter Biden to toss the pending criminal gun case against him, saying his appeal was premature.

The ruling clears the way for Hunter Biden's trial in the case to start on June 3 in U.S. District Court in Delaware. Biden is the son of President Joe Biden.

In its ruling Thursday, a three-judge panel on the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Hunter Biden failed to show that the trial judge's decision in April allowing the gun case to proceed were appealable before any final judgment, which could include his sentencing.

The appeals panel, whose decision was unanimous, did not rule on the merits of Biden's arguments that the indictment should be dismissed.

If Biden is convicted at trial, he could renew the arguments for dismissal with the same appeals court that it declined to consider in its order Thursday.

Hunter Biden's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, suggested that he will ask a full panel of judges on the 3rd Circuit to reconsider Biden's appeal, and could even ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.

"In reviewing the panel's decision, we believe the issues involved are too important and further review of our request is appropriate," Lowell said.

Biden is charged with three criminal counts related to his purchase of a handgun while he was addicted to illegal drugs. He has pleaded not guilty.

In late 2023, Biden's lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika to dismiss the indictment against him on three separate grounds.

The first was that the indictment violated a non-prosecution provision in a pretrial diversion agreement that Biden and prosecutors signed before a planned deal in the case to avoid an indictment blew up last year.

In their second motion to dismiss, Biden's lawyers claimed he was vindictively and selectively prosecuted because his father is the president. Under this line of argument, the indictment violates the separation-of-power provision in the U.S. Constitution because it was improperly motivated by Republicans in Congress who have made him a political whipping boy to attack the president.

The third motion to dismiss argued that the appointment of David Weiss as special counsel for the Department of Justice to handle Biden's cases violated federal rules requiring special counsels to be selected from outside the U.S. government. Weiss was U.S. Attorney for Delaware at the time of his appointment as special counsel, and he remains in that office.

Noreika in separate rulings in April rejected all three arguments for dismissal of the indictment.

Biden is separately charged by Weiss in Los Angeles federal court with tax crimes. The judge in that case in early April denied eight defense motions to dismiss that case, where Biden has pleaded not guilty.

This is developing news. Check back for updates.

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