Hunter Biden plans to plead not guilty to three federal gun charges during an initial court appearance and is requesting to hold the hearing by videoconference instead of appearing in federal court in Wilmington, Del., his lawyer said in a filing on Tuesday.
Mr. Biden, 53, was indicted last week by David C. Weiss, the special counsel overseeing the case, on two charges that he lied about his drug use to purchase a handgun in 2018 and on one charge of illegally possessing the weapon, which he had for less than two weeks.
The not-guilty plea was expected. The decision to file criminal charges against Mr. Biden, the president’s troubled younger son, came after the collapse of a plea deal in July that would have resolved the long-running investigation without him serving prison time.
“Mr. Biden also will enter a plea of not guilty, and there is no reason why he cannot utter those two words by videoconference,” Abbe Lowell, Mr. Biden’s lawyer, wrote in a two-page letter to Judge Christopher J. Burke.
If convicted, Mr. Biden could face up to 25 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. But nonviolent, first-time offenders who have not been accused of using the weapon in another crime rarely receive serious prison time for the charges.
A substantial percentage of those accused of lying on a federal firearms application, as Mr. Biden has been, are never indicted on that charge unless they are also accused of a more serious underlying crime, current and former law enforcement officials said. Most negotiate deals that include probation and enrollment in programs that include counseling, monitoring and regular drug testing.
No date has been set for Mr. Biden’s arraignment.
The defunct plea deal also would have resolved an investigation into Mr. Biden’s late filing of his tax returns for several years. Prosecutors did not file tax charges against Mr. Biden last week but could still do so.
Mr. Weiss’s team has also signaled that it continues to investigate other elements of Mr. Biden’s business activities, most likely including whether any of his work with foreign interests violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires disclosure of lobbying activities for other countries.