It is the first time a child of a serving president of the United States has been prosecuted in the US. Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, has been charged criminally.
The three felony counts for gun possession were brought to the US District Court in Delaware after efforts to strike a plea agreement fell apart.
As President Biden seeks reelection in 2024 and is likely to compete against his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, who is currently facing four upcoming criminal trials, this development ensures that the courtroom drama surrounding Hunter Biden's case will play a significant role in the US presidential campaign.
The investigation into Hunter Biden's business dealings has been ongoing for years and gained momentum when David Weiss, who was originally nominated by Trump, was elevated to the status of a special counsel in August.
Hunter Biden has been the target of attacks and allegations by Trump and Republican allies, particularly regarding his activities in Ukraine and China, among other matters. Despite these claims, Hunter Biden has held various professional roles and has publicly discussed his struggles with substance abuse.
Hunter Biden disclosed in December 2020 that his tax affairs were under investigation by Weiss's office, a matter he has denied wrongdoing in. While most US attorneys appointed by Trump resigned when Biden took office, Weiss was asked to remain in his position by the Justice Department.
It's important to note that Hunter Biden never held a White House position or played a role in his father's campaign, and President Biden has asserted that he did not discuss foreign business dealings with his son, emphasizing the independence of the Justice Department in investigating his family members.
Furthermore, during the 2020 election campaign, Trump called for an investigation into Hunter Biden's involvement in a Chinese fund, accusing him of using his influence to secure Chinese financial support for his investments, claims that Hunter Biden has denied.
Hunter Biden has publicly discussed his struggles with substance abuse, including the use of crack cocaine and issues with alcoholism. He was discharged from the US Navy Reserve in 2014 after testing positive for cocaine.
The original emphasis of the David Weiss-led inquiry was on possible tax and money-laundering legislation infractions in international corporate activities, particularly in China. Hunter Biden first agreed to confess to tax-related offenses, but the agreement collapsed once concerns about its parameters surfaced.
While many former presidents' relatives have been involved in scandals, notably Richard Nixon's brother Don and George H.W. Bush's son Neil, Hunter Biden's arrest is a unique circumstance in US presidential history.