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Hunter Biden's bid to toss gun charges rejected by U.S. appeals court

Hunter Biden's bid to toss charges rejected
Hunter Biden loses bid to dismiss federal gun charges 07:25

Washington — A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected a bid by Hunter Biden to dismiss federal gun charges brought against him by special counsel David Weiss last year.

The three-judge panel said in an unsigned opinion that Hunter Biden failed to show that lower court orders denying his requests to toss out the indictment are appealable before final judgment. The ruling allows for a trial against Hunter Biden to move forward but also leaves open the possibility for another appeal if he's convicted. 

The decision from Judges Patty Shwartz, Cindy Chung and D. Brooks Smith was unanimous and on procedural grounds.

Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden's lawyer, said in a statement, "In reviewing the panel's decision, we believe the issues involved are too important and further review of our request is appropriate."

The president's son had argued that the charges brought against him are "unprecedented" and "unconstitutional" and violated a diversion agreement reached with federal prosecutors that collapsed in July after a judge refused to sign off on it. Hunter Biden was indicted in September and faces three felony counts stemming from his purchase of a Colt Cobra 388PL revolver in 2018, while he was a drug user. 

Prosecutors alleged that he unlawfully possessed the firearm for 11 days and made false statements on a form used for gun purchases claiming he was not an unlawful drug user. President Biden's son has pleaded not guilty to the gun charges, which were filed in Delaware. He was also indicted in California in December on nine federal tax charges. Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to those charges and is pursuing a similar effort to dismiss the indictment there.

In court filings seeking to dismiss the gun charges, Hunter Biden's lawyers claimed the diversion agreement, which required him to refrain from using drugs and alcohol and barred the purchase and possession of firearms, as well as other conditions, remains legally binding and valid. They also pushed the idea that politics were at play in the charging decisions and said he was "vindictively and selectively prosecuted" by Weiss. 

Federal prosecutors, though, disagreed with those contentions in court filings, writing in part, "The charges in this case are not trumped up or because of former President Trump — they are instead a result of the defendant's own choices and were brought in spite of, not because of, any outside noise made by politicians." 

Weiss also serves as Delaware's U.S. attorney, a post to which he was appointed by former President Donald Trump. Attorney General Merrick Garland opted to keep Weiss in that position and later appointed him special counsel to carry out the Hunter Biden probe. 

A trial in the Delaware case is set to start in June.  

Erica Brown contributed to this report

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