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Hunter Biden prosecutors oppose bid for virtual hearing on gun charges

Special counsel David Weiss has formally come out against a request from lawyers for Hunter Biden to hold a virtual hearing on gun charges brought against the first son, arguing an in-person hearing would better ensure public confidence that the case was being handled properly.

Weiss asked US Magistrate Judge Christopher Burke on Wednesday to deny Biden attorney Abbe Lowell’s request to hold a remote hearing, saying the 53-year-old should not be treated differently than other defendants, court filings show.

“An in-person hearing is important to promote the public’s confidence that the defendant is being treated consistently with other defendants in this District and in other Districts,” Weiss wrote.

Lowell argued in a Tuesday filing that an in-person hearing would be a “logistical burden” and financial strain on the US Secret Service and US Marshals Service to coordinate Hunter’s as-yet-unscheduled appearance in Wilmington, Del., federal court.

However, Weiss pointed out in his own filing that there was no precedent to avoid hearings for those reasons.

“Hunter Biden does not contend he is injured or indigent,” he wrote. “If ‘convenience’ was a legitimate basis to warrant virtual proceedings, every defendant would ask for them in every case.”

Weiss also said holding the hearing by video teleconference may prevent the judge from assessing Hunter’s “physical, emotional, and mental condition” — which would help in determining whether to detain or release him.

Further, he noted that deliberations at Hunter’s July 26 plea hearing had descended into “confusion” as the parties disagreed about the scope of their agreement — and decided to scrap it.

“For example, the defendant provided contradictory testimony and his previous attorney apologized to the court for the way the defendant and his counsel chose to answer the Court’s questions,” Weiss said.

“The confusion they caused resulted in the Court twice recessing the proceeding only to ultimately defer a decision on the proposed and subsequently withdrawn diversion and plea agreements.

“Although the government anticipates this proceeding should be straightforward since the parties have not reached an agreement to resolve this matter, we believe an in-person proceeding may be more conducive to addressing any unforeseen issues that arise,” Weiss went on.

On Sept. 14, Weiss charged Hunter Biden with three counts of having lied about his drug use when purchasing a firearm in 2018. The first son admitted in his 2021 memoir “Beautiful Things” to using crack cocaine during that time.

Lowell said on Tuesday that he expects his client to plead not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

On Sept. 14, Weiss charged Hunter Biden with three counts of having lied about his drug use when purchasing a firearm in 2018. The first son admitted in his 2021 memoir “Beautiful Things” to using crack cocaine during that time.

Both Weiss and Lowell have supported conditions of release approved by a federal judge that require the first son to remain sober, submit to drug testing, seek employment and inform the court of all his travel plans.

Hunter’s plea deal blew up in federal court under persistent questioning from Delaware US District Judge Maryellen Noreika, who asked prosecutors about an immunity provision that would have kept them from charging Hunter for past crimes.

A scrapped diversion agreement for the gun offense included in that plea deal would have also allowed his record to be expunged if he complied with the terms of his probation.

Hunter’s plea agreement would have slapped him with two years of probation for failing to pay taxes on more than $2 million he earned in foreign income from business dealings in China and Ukraine, among other countries.

IRS whistleblowers have alleged the Biden Justice Department interfered with the federal investigation into the president’s son, who may have violated foreign lobbying laws

House Republicans have since launched an impeachment inquiry into President Biden to determine whether he profited from or influenced US policy in response to Hunter’s business ventures.

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