Recent reports have revealed that Hunter Biden’s legal team is engaged in a legal dispute with Justice Department prosecutors over the possibility of conducting his initial court proceedings via video conference rather than requiring him to appear in person.
According to Fox News, US Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke has instructed Biden’s attorneys to provide justification for this request no later than Tuesday. Federal prosecutors have voiced their opposition to this request, as stated by Judge Burke.
Margot Cleveland, Senior Legal Correspondent at The Federalist, shared an excerpt of the order on social media and remarked on the situation, saying, “This order in the Hunter Biden case is hilarious… No, Mr. President’s Son, you can’t just call and we’ll do what you want, file a motion like everyone else. Burke is the Magistrate Judge, and they typically handle initial appearances. Hunter Biden can have the Trump treatment”. This implies that Hunter’s legal team may have made the request verbally by phone rather than presenting it in writing.
The full order was posted on social media ‘X’ by Kaelan Deese of the Washington Examiner, who explained, “The judge overseeing Hunter Biden’s gun arraignment asks the defense to file a response by September 19 on why his initial appearance should be held via video conference. Prosecutors, who want it to happen in-person, are ordered to respond by September 20. The order comes from Judge Burke”.
Judge Burke’s order states, “The Court, understanding that Defendant seeks to have the initial appearance on the Indictment in this matter held via video conference, and understanding that the government opposes that request, hereby ORDERS as follows: (1) By no later than September 19, 2023, Defendant shall make any such request to the court in writing by filing a one-page motion to that effect, along with an accompanying letter brief not to exceed two single-spaced pages; and (2) By no later than September 20, 2023, the Government may file an answering letter brief of no more than two single-spaced pages”.
With less than 24 hours to respond, there is a possibility that Hunter Biden’s legal team may withdraw the request or fail to provide an explanation that satisfies Judge Burke.
Given that Hunter Biden is currently suing the IRS after two whistleblowers, Agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, allegedly “targeted and sought to embarrass” him, it is likely that his legal team will argue that an in-person court appearance would cause embarrassment to the President’s son and, by extension, President Joe Biden himself.
However, it’s important to note that the charges Hunter faces are serious. He could potentially serve up to 25 years in federal prison if convicted on the federal firearm charges, including false statements in the purchase of a firearm (with a maximum sentence of 10 years, a fine of up to US$250,000, and three years of supervised release), false statements related to information required to be kept by a federal firearms licensed dealer (up to five years in prison, a quarter-million-dollar fine, and three years of supervised release), and possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance (adding another ten years, up to US$250,000 in fines, and three years of supervised release, according to the indictment).
Some individuals in the President’s orbit, such as former Press Secretary turned MSNBC host Jen Psaki, have attempted to use these charges against Hunter to garner sympathy for President Joe Biden in the public eye. Psaki mentioned, “My bet is right now, this is a heartbroken president, in the White House, who is worried about his son, and we’re all watching to see kind of what happens with this”. She further added, “I mean, first and foremost, the politics of this are a little hard to predict, but right now you have the president’s son, somebody he loves deeply, somebody who has very publicly struggled with drug addiction, now facing these charges”.
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