U.S. president Biden's son Hunter loses bid to dismiss gun charges

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A federal judge in Delaware on Friday declined to dismiss gun charges against Hunter Biden, one of the two criminal cases against Joe Biden's son as the Democratic U.S. president ramps up his campaign for re-election.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika in Wilmington ruled against Hunter Biden's request to dismiss two counts of lying about his use of illegal narcotics when he purchased a Colt Cobra handgun in 2018 and a third count of illegally possessing that weapon.

The ruling clears the way for a trial on the gun charges, tentatively scheduled to start on June 3 in Wilmington. Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty.

Special Counsel David Weiss brought the gun charges in September, when Hunter Biden became the first child of a sitting president to be indicted. He had faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted on the gun charges.

Republican candidate Donald Trump, seeking to regain the presidency in the Nov. 5 U.S. election, faces four criminal indictments of his own.

Hunter Biden's attorneys had argued the gun charges should be dismissed for a variety of reasons including that the law under which Hunter Biden was charged was likely unconstitutional after the U.S. Supreme Court expanded gun rights in a 2022 ruling that set a tough new test to determine the legality of firearms restrictions.

Biden's legal team also had argued that Weiss was not appropriately appointed, that Hunter Biden was being selectively prosecuted and that he had a binding agreement that shielded him from prosecution.

Hunter Biden also has pleaded not guilty to federal tax crimes in a separate case brought by Weiss in California, facing up to 17 years in prison if convicted. That trial is scheduled to start on June 20.

The special counsel accused Hunter Biden of failing to pay US$1.4 million in taxes between 2016 and 2019 while spending millions of dollars on drugs, escorts, exotic cars and other high-ticket items. U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi in Los Angeles on April 1 rejected Hunter Biden's motions to dismiss the tax indictment.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Will Dunham)

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