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Hunter Biden indicted on felony gun charges, faces up to 25 years in federal prison
Paul Morigi/Getty Images for World Food Program USA

Hunter Biden indicted on felony gun charges, faces up to 25 years in federal prison

Special counsel David Weiss has secured an indictment against Hunter Biden on three counts of felony gun charges.

Court documents show that a grand jury indicted Biden on two felony charges for allegedly lying on an ATF Form 4473 when he purchased a Colt Cobra revolver in October 2018. That is the same firearm that Hallie Biden, the widow of Hunter's older brother, allegedly discarded in a trash dumpster .

The third count alleges that Biden illegally possessed the firearm while being the user of illegal narcotics.

If convicted, Biden faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in federal prison.

Last week, Weiss filed court documents indicating that an indictment was forthcoming. That itself was significant news because less than three months ago, Weiss had announced a sweetheart plea deal for the first son. That deal included a pretrial diversion agreement with Biden for the gun charge. That agreement would have allowed Biden to avoid prosecution if he abided by its stipulations.

But that deal fell apart in late July when a federal judge questioned the constitutionality and unusual nature of the deal , which included a broad immunity agreement.

And what makes the indictment significant is that it encompasses both crimes that Biden allegedly committed.

Initially, Weiss only accused Biden of being the user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S. Code § 922(g)(3) . Now, however, Weiss asserts that Biden not only broke that federal statute but also alleges he broke 18 U.S. Code § 922(a)(6) when he allegedly lied on the ATF form.

Meanwhile, the indictment is likely to set off a new legal battle between Weiss and Biden's attorneys, who claim the diversion agreement remains in effect. Prosecutors, on the other hand, say it never took effect because a U.S. probation officer never signed it.

And the indictment is likely not the last of Biden's legal troubles.

After the plea deal collapsed in July, a federal court agreed to vacate the tax charges that Weiss had filed against Biden as part of the original deal. Weiss told the court he planned to refile criminal charges against Biden in other jurisdictions, likely the venues where the alleged crimes took place: the Central District of California and the District of Columbia.

A court date has not yet been set for Biden. The court has issued a summons.

Abbe Lowell, Biden's attorney, said in a statement the indictment "presents a grave threat to our system of justice."

As expected, prosecutors filed charges today that they deemed were not warranted just six weeks ago following a five-year investigation into this case. The evidence in this matter has not changed in the last six weeks, but the law has and so has MAGA Republicans’ improper and partisan interference in this process. Hunter Biden possessing an unloaded gun for 11 day was not a threat to public safety, but a prosecutor, with all the power imaginable, bending to political pressure presents a grave threat to our system of justice.

We believe these charges are barred by the agreement the prosecutors made with Mr. Biden, the recent rulings by several federal courts that this statute is unconstitutional, and the facts that he did not violate that law, and we plan to demonstrate all of that in court.

Lowell, however, did not present any evidence of "improper and partisan interference."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Hunter Biden's attorney.

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