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Hunter Biden criminally charged with three counts of lying when buying a firearm

President Biden’s son Hunter Biden has been criminally charged with three counts of lying when buying a firearm after his plea fell apart.

Mr Biden, 53, is accused of lying about his drug use when he purchased a firearm in October 2018, a period during which he said he was struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine. He reportedly kept the gun for 11 days.

The indictment says Mr Biden lied on a form mandated for every gun purchase, when he bought a Colt Cobra Special at a branch of Wilmington gun shop in Delaware.

He is accused of checking a box falsely saying he was not a user of or addicted to drugs and of illegally possessing the gun as a drug user.

Under US federal laws, it is a crime to lie on the form or possess a firearm while a drug user.

Mr Biden’s indictment marks the first time the child of a sitting president has been prosecuted, and his legal woes have become a contentious issue in US politics.

Who is Hunter Biden?

Hunter Biden and his father Joe in 2016 (Photo: Teresa Kroeger/Getty)

In his career, Mr Biden has worked as an attorney and businessman. He was formerly a banker at MBNA America, a bank holding company owned by Bank of America.

The 53-year-old’s life has been marked by family tragedy and well-reported issues with drugs and alcohol.

He was only two years old when a truck rammed into his family’s car, killing his mother Neilia and his baby sister Naomi, in December 1972, less than six weeks after his father’s election to the US Senate.

He allegedly started drinking as a teenager and has said he abused cocaine while at college. After attending Georgetown University and Yale Law School, he graduated in 1996, before meeting his first wife Kathleen Buhle, a lawyer, whom he married in 1993.

The couple have three children together – Naomi, Finnegan and Maisy. They divorced in 2017.

Discussing how their 24-year marriage ended, Ms Buhle told Good Morning America: “He was struggling under a massive drug addiction, and that’s heartbreaking and painful and that wasn’t who I was married to.”

In his memoir Beautiful Things, Mr Biden admitted his infidelity sounded the death knell on their marriage. Before his split from Ms Buhle was completed, he started a relationship with his brother’s widow, Hallie Biden, which ended in 2019.

** FILE ** In this photo released by the Biden family, Joe Biden is photographed with his sons Hunter, left, and Beau, around 1972. Biden has lived a life of second chances, a cycle that's been cruel and redemptive by turns. Now he's starting over once again. Deeply private yet in-your-face, collegial yet ideological, the Delaware senator brings a wealth of foreign policy experience to Barack Obama's Democratic ticket, plus wisdom in the ways of Washington and an infectious enthusiasm for political donnybrooks. (AP Photo)
Joe Biden is photographed with his sons Hunter, left, and Beau, around 1972 (Photo: AP)

Weeks later, he married Melissa Cohen, a South African filmmaker after a whirlwind week long romance. They have one son.

According to the New Yorker, his issues with alcohol worsened after his brother Beau died from brain cancer in 2015.

His tabloid escapades have frequently caused his father embarrassment. Analysis of a laptop left by Mr Biden at a Delaware repair shop revealed lucrative earnings from his banking work in China and Ukraine, and evidence of his alcohol and drug-fuelled antics.

The scandal blighted Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, and his team tried to argued it was a smear orchestrated by Russian disinformation spreaders. The hard drive has since been authenticated by US media, and obtained by the FBI.

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