Federal Judge Denies Hunter Biden’s Request for Special Treatment
Finally, a refreshing change: Hunter Biden is being treated like any other citizen alleged to have committed a crime. According to CNN, federal Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke denied a defense request for the president’s son to appear virtually to enter a plea in his federal firearms violation case when he’s arraigned on Oct. 3.
Arraignment Date Pushed Back
The initial date for arraignment in the case was supposed to be Sept. 26, according to United Press International. However, it was pushed back at the request of his attorneys.
Defense Request Denied
Abbe Lowell, one of Biden’s many members of counsel, urged the court to let him appear via video link in a Tuesday filing.
“No matter whether in person or virtual, he will waive reading of the indictment, which is merely a few pages and could easily be read at a video conference,” the filing read.
However, special counsel David Weiss pushed back on the move, saying it was unprecedented.
“Hunter Biden does not contend he is injured or indigent,” wrote the special counsel, initially a Delaware U.S. attorney investigating the Hunter case, in a court filing.
In-Person Appearance Promotes Public Confidence
Weiss also said the in-person court appearance would “promote the public’s confidence” that the fix wasn’t in for the president’s son.
“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’ team said in its court filing.
“Moreover, the previous arraignment held in connection with this matter was anything but routine because the defendant and his previous attorney were not prepared to answer the Court’s questions.”
The Delaware judge sided with the special counsel.
“In the end, the Court agrees with both Defendant … and the Government … that Defendant should not receive special treatment in this matter – absent some unusual circumstance, he should be treated just as would any other defendant in our Court,” Judge Burke wrote in his ruling on Wednesday.
“Any other defendant would be required to attend his or her initial appearance in person. So too here.
“Therefore, Defendant’s Motion is DENIED,” the ruling concluded.
Legal Woes for Hunter Biden
The gun charge could be just the beginning of Hunter’s legal troubles, depending on how serious the special counsel is regarding the tax and gun allegations the president’s son faces.
Complicated Plea Agreement
Mind you, this was all supposed to be settled quietly via a plea agreement arranged by the Department of Justice in which Hunter would plead guilty to the tax and gun violations so long as he completed a diversionary program designed for offenders who had drug issues.
Appointment of Special Counsel
However, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika found the agreement dubious, particularly since 1) it offered Hunter wide immunity for crimes not even covered under the plea agreement and 2) the prosecution and defense argued in court over how wide the immunity being offered was. She called the plea “confusing,” “not straightforward,” “unprecedented” and “atypical,” refused to accept the deal, and ordered attorneys to go back to the bargaining table to hash out something more conventional.
Appointment of Special Counsel
It failed, and Weiss was appointed special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland. While there has been some skepticism from Republicans about Weiss’ appointment — he had handled the case previously, after all, including the botched plea agreement — Weiss has taken on arguably the easiest case to convict Hunter on, the gun charges.
The Gun Charges
In 2018, Hunter bought a Colt Cobra .38 Special through a gun dealer. As part of a federal background check form, he asserted he was drug-free, a precondition to legally purchasing a firearm. According to Hunter’s own memoir, however, he was on a wild drug bender at roughly the same time he purchased the weapon.
Equal Treatment for All Defendants
Suffice it to say, it’s a bit complicated, but the point is that anyone who came across the gun in the dumpster could have used it in nefarious ways — or Hunter could have, considering his mental state at the time.
White House Concerns
Apparently, the White House — and specifically, the president — is in a tizzy over the fact the first son is finally being treated like any other person.
Protective of Hunter Biden
“The emotional toll continues to weigh heavily on the president and first lady, who approach the most sensitive family matters as a father and mother above all else, according to a source familiar with their thinking,” NBC News reported Saturday. “But the recent shift in their outlook has been dramatic, the source said.”
Michael LaRosa, Jill Biden’s former press secretary, told the network, “Every day, this president wakes up and thinks about his deceased son and probably cries every day. And the weight of [Hunter’s legal troubles] is equally emotionally taxing.” He added that the Bidens are “incredibly protective of Hunter.”
Yes, and that’s how we got here. Now, the most enabled prodigal son in recent Washington history will have to eat the same carob pods the rest of the ordinary swine that go through the legal system are forced to swallow.
Sident — had concerns about the negative publicity surrounding Hunter Biden’s case. They reportedly wanted the arraignment to be conducted virtually to avoid media attention and any potential embarrassment for the administration. However, it is refreshing to see that the judge denied this request and upheld
What potential reasons could the administration have had for wanting a virtual arraignment, and how does the judge’s decision promote accountability in this context?
There could be several potential reasons why the administration would prefer a virtual arraignment:
1. Convenience and efficiency: Conducting the arraignment virtually could save time and resources for both the court system and the administration. It eliminates the need to transport the defendant from a correctional facility to the courthouse, especially if they are located far apart. This can help streamline the legal process and enable more cases to be heard in a given time.
2. Safety and security: Virtual arraignments can reduce risks associated with transporting defendants, especially in cases where the individual may pose a danger or be a flight risk. By conducting the arraignment remotely, the court can ensure the safety of all parties involved and minimize the potential for any disruptive incidents.
3. Access to justice: Virtual arraignments can help improve access to justice, particularly for individuals who live in remote areas or have mobility issues. It eliminates the need for defendants, attorneys, and other court personnel to physically be present in the same location, making it more convenient and accessible for all involved parties.
The judge’s decision to go ahead with the virtual arraignment promotes accountability in this context in several ways:
1. Maintaining the court’s functioning: By allowing virtual arraignments, the judge ensures that the court’s operations continue during unforeseen circumstances, such as the absence of physical courtrooms due to a pandemic or other emergencies. This upholds the principle of accountability by ensuring the legal system continues to function, even under challenging circumstances.
2. Equal treatment under the law: Conducting virtual arraignments ensures that defendants are treated equally, regardless of their physical location. It prevents any potential bias or disadvantage that may arise from transporting defendants to a particular court location, promoting fairness and accountability in the legal process.
3. Maintaining transparency: Virtual arraignments typically incorporate videoconferencing technology, which allows for real-time communication between the defendant, judge, and attorneys. This ensures all parties can participate, ask questions, and present their case effectively, thereby maintaining transparency and accountability in the proceedings.
Overall, the judge’s decision in favor of a virtual arraignment promotes accountability by prioritizing safety, access, efficiency, and fairness in the legal system.
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