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Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict is unjust

Hunter Biden leaves court in Delaware last week. Credit: Getty

June 11, 2024 - 7:00pm

Hunter Biden, the President’s son, has today been convicted of three felonies related to unlawful gun possession. He now faces up to 25 years behind bars, although he’ll likely get a much lighter sentence than that worst-case scenario.

Partisan enemies of Joe Biden will no doubt cheer this development, and there’s barely any doubt that Hunter is guilty of the specific charges. From details in his own memoir to ample documentary evidence, there’s compelling proof that the younger Biden was using drugs yet falsely certified he was sober when he purchased a firearm back in 2018. That is indeed a crime under federal law, but just because he’s guilty doesn’t mean that this verdict is actually just.

For a start, the federal government previously allowed far more serious charges against Hunter related to tax evasion to expire after reaching their statute of limitations. Other tax-related charges are now being prosecuted against Biden, with a trial set for later this month. This inconsistency makes little sense, but instead further reveals the schizophrenic nature of an increasingly politicised justice system.

The “crime” for which Hunter has just been convicted is a victimless one: he lied on a federal form, the kind of misdemeanour that ought to result in a fine, not a felony record. Gun ownership is a constitutional right in the United States, and there’s no other right, such as free speech or due process, from which an individual is disqualified because they are a drug user. Yet, under the worst-case scenario, he could receive a longer prison sentence than many rapists do. The “correct” legal outcome does not always constitute justice.

There’s also the question of selective prosecution. As Reason’s Jacob Sollum has explained, millions of Americans violate the same law Biden violated, and almost none are ever prosecuted. While most people have the good sense not to incriminate themselves in their own memoirs, it’s hard to deny that the charge would ever have been brought but for Hunter’s surname. Politicians, and by extension their families, aren’t above the law. But they’re also not supposed to be treated worse by our legal system than any other person would be.

Crossing the political aisle, one thinks of the conviction of former president Donald Trump last month on highly dubious “felonies”, extrapolated from a misdemeanour booking offence by an openly partisan Democratic prosecutor. The Hunter Biden conviction does not cancel out Trump’s. Neither bodes well for America.

There’s a reason that Lady Justice is depicted, in statue form, wearing a blindfold. Yet that traditional principle of neutrality under the law is now actively being eroded. That, surely, is far more concerning than the “crimes” of which Biden and Trump have been convicted.


Brad Polumbo is an independent journalist, YouTuber, and host of the DAMAGE CONTROL podcast dedicated to reclaiming common sense on LGBT issues. 

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Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo
1 month ago

I lost my father to gun violence when I was a child but still support the US Second Amendment, albeit with much stricter controls than now exist. The danger that someone in possession of a lethal weapon poses to others while under the influence of drugs is far more significant than lying on a form and deserves to be a felony in itself. In the violence-ridden U.S. a stunning proportion of gun crime is committed by people under the influence of drugs. When viewed in the context of what is known as a matter of record about Hunter Biden, it is fair to say that he has conducted a substantial portion of his adult life with little regard for the well being of those around him. If ever there lived a man who could be characterized as being born into white privilege it is Hunter Biden. He grew up in the midst of power, wealth, education, and opportunity unavailable to 99.9% of the world. That people who see themselves as occupying “the right side of history” would come to the defense of someone epitomizing the utter worst manifestation of selfishly squandered privilege is beyond hypocrisy.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  Ex Nihilo

Whilst he may have “deserved” the result because of his general previous behaviour and attitude, that isn’t how the system is supposed to work.
He has been convicted on specific charges…and that IS how the system is supposed to work, which it obviously did this time.

Hale Virginia
Hale Virginia
1 month ago
Reply to  Ex Nihilo

To further your point, the reason this ordeal ever came to light in the first place is because his sister in law and then lover said she was afraid of him, and that’s why she reported the gun, which she found left openly laying in his unlocked vehicle. (If I remember it may have been her and her children that found it, making this even worse). As an American who fully supports the 2nd amendment, I think this fairly mild limitation on our gun rights is a reasonable and correct one.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 month ago
Reply to  Ex Nihilo

True, but weasels deserve justice because it is society that enforces it.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

No doubt most people would not be prosecuted for such a minor paperwork violation. But it’s important to remember how we got here. HB was only prosecuted for the gun crime after a plea deal on tax evasion charges – a plea deal that included the gun charges – was kiboshed by his defence lawyers. The judge in that case flagged the plea deal because it included immunity on a wide range of tax crimes and lobbyist violations. When the judge flagged the plea agreement, prosecutors were forced to argue that the plea deal didn’t include widespread immunity for future charges. HB’s lawyers didn’t like this sudden change and refused to go ahead with the plea deal.

This is nothing like the Trump case. Not even close. A sharp judge flagged a very suspicious plea deal from the DOJ and made it public. If that didn’t happen, HB would have never went to trial.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“This is nothing like the Trump case. Not even close.”
Still sucking up to that fat loser, Jim? All your protestations to not like him are kind of undermined by your 100% support of whatever stupidity he and his cult members come up with.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

Am I wrong? Is anything I said incorrect? Typical TDS ideologue. You must hate everything Trump or you love him. So very meh.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You certainly seem to love him!
You still haven’t been able to come up with any kind of argument as to why your cult leader should be above the law.

Jim Haggerty
Jim Haggerty
1 month ago

Its’ not the law but rather 12 folks who hate Trump and a judge who contributed to Hillary & Biden interpretation of the law…Plenty of those have been overturned…we shall see

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I know it’s difficult not to take the bait, but you shouldn’t respond to CS.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I get CS. I usually refrain from responding, but sometimes I do. I’m certainly not bothered by his comments though. They are coming from a genuinely shallow pool.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 month ago

Must be hard being out governed by fat loser cult leaders. Your condemnation of Biden presidency is noted.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Good points.
And this article doesn’t even mention a critical distinction. Donald Trump was prosecuted for political gain by his political enemies. Hunter Biden was prosecuted for political gain too, not by his political enemies but by his own father! Joe Biden’s justice department felt like they had to prosecute Hunter Biden for something or the voters would smell a rat.
Joe Biden and his justice department were the ones who offered Hunter Biden a slap on the wrist for the tax and gun felonies, and all he had to do was plead guilty to two misdemeanors and no felonies. Hunter Biden was a fool not to take the plea deal. That’s on him. He got what he deserved.
Donald Trump did not. Nobody offered him a plea deal to downgrade felonies to misdemeanors. Just the opposite. They upgraded misdemeanors to felonies!

Tomas Matiev
Tomas Matiev
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

How were Trump’s charges not felonies?

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 month ago

Joe made a political career demanding stiff, zero tolerance punishments for drug and gun offenses. Hunter is a hopeless screw up and train wreck. I would be a lot more sympathetic if he had not enabled his son’s bad behavior while holding other people’s kids to a different standard.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

A hopeless screw up and train wreck – just like his old man.

William Brand
William Brand
1 month ago

Hunter’s actual crime for which the federal system dares not accuse him of is acting as a bagman to collect bribes from foreign companies for his father “the big guy” then Vice President Biden. Biden then delivered on this bribe by ordering the government of Ukraine to fire a prosecutor of a company that hired Hunter for a no-show job. The jury was thinking about this case when judging Hunter. Win or lose Biden will pardon his son the day after the election.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 month ago
Reply to  William Brand

Actually Trump said he would pardon Hunter as soon as he becomes President. Oh the irony!

Bethany Haye
Bethany Haye
1 month ago

How sweet of him, especially as Hunter’s own father just said the opposite on camera in reponse to a journalist’s question.

Bethany Haye
Bethany Haye
1 month ago
Reply to  William Brand

Bagman accusations have long since been totally disproved. Biden “ordering the government of Ukraine to fire” the prosecutor investigating supposed corruption within Burisma, the company Hunter worked for, is a bad joke. The prosecutor in question, Viktor Shokin was a known political partner of Ukraine’s then president Viktor Yanukovic, a Kremlin ally. Shokin was removed based on anti-corruption policy of the United States, the European Union, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, who all called for his resignation. The informer who claimed Burisma’s owner bribed the Bidens to get Shokin fired was found guilty of lying to the FBI about this, and admitted he had invented the whole story.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 month ago
Reply to  Bethany Haye

The truth is that the US shouldn’t have interfered in the internal politics of another country, Ukraine. Had they not done so consistently, the current war in Ukraine would never have occurred.

Terry M
Terry M
1 month ago
Reply to  Bethany Haye

It’s on videotape of Biden coercing Ukraine to fire the judge. A quid pro quo if ever there was one.
And that says nothing of the $20M that the Biden crime family received for various favors.
The law under which Hunter was convicted is unconstitutional, and should be overturned. I hope SCOTUS does so if it ever lands on their desks.

Chris Van Schoor
Chris Van Schoor
1 month ago
Reply to  Bethany Haye

The interview in which Joe Biden boasted to the host as to how he got the prosecutor fired by threatening to withhold aid Dollars is there for all to see. And everyone knows that that prosecutor was investigating Burisma, which had appointed Hunter (a known expert on energy, ha ha) to its board.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago

CNN and MSMBC must have said so.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Bethany Haye

What was Hunter Biden doing on the board of Burisma in the first place? Why have millions been given to him by the Chinese? Why does his family have 20 shell companies? Why have the FBI never spoken with HB’s former “business partner” Tony Bobulinski? C’mon man.

rod gartner
rod gartner
1 month ago

the answer is “exactly the same” as the thousands of other examples of nepotism and “peripheral to celebrity”

the clearest example is Jared Kushner, whose BA in “government” and JD/Mba nor the years spent renting and managing residential apartments, a few single family homes some commerciL properties, etc did not prepare or train him to manage a multi billion dollar investment fund as the hand picked choice of the Saudi crown prince

conveniently though, MBS overlooked the terrible existentially bad judgement that Jared and his dad showed in their 666 5th avenue epic fail
he also ignored jared “threatening to fire the prosecutor” (threatening, in existential terms, to harm or destroy Qatar using a very real, but short durarionbanking and shipping blockade unless the Qataris Dues Ex Machina’d the Kushners out of thier crumbling real estate quicksand by “buying them free” from their contract for $2.5 Billion paid from one of their obfuscating shell investment funds

MBS was also generous enough to waive any form of oversight or performance metrics from Jared’s management, for all time
MBS can rest easily knowing that the multi billion $ debit card he handed completely TO jared after promising never to ask about or mention it will be invested better than with 666 5th*

incidentally the fact that the Kushners owned literally “Number of the Beast, Manhattan, NY” and almost saw it drag them into bankruptcy and yet the frothing mouthed fever swampers who believe in an ongoing, invisible angel-demon war like a Constantine sequel occurs right now out of sight spent far more square feet of aluminum foil hallucinating about the “inescapable conclusions” of Bill Gates (R, GA) connection to Bill Gates (Redmond, WA) speaks to the sincerity of Anythaing theysay

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  rod gartner

Are you Kamala Harris’s speech writer?

M To the Tea
M To the Tea
1 month ago

The term “victimless crime” is problematic and warrants reconsideration. We must either reform the judicial system to address the punishment of these so-called “victimless” crimes or cease using the term altogether. The issue with this terminology lies in its potential to perpetuate systemic abuses against marginalized groups, illustrating how language within the legal framework can contribute to injustice.

Point of Information
Point of Information
1 month ago

Perhaps my perspective is skewed because I live in a country where gun ownership is not a right, but this argument seems mad:

“Gun ownership is a constitutional right in the United States, and there’s no other right, such as free speech or due process, from which an individual is disqualified because they are a drug user. Yet, under the worst-case scenario, he could receive a longer prison sentence than many rapists do.”

1. You can’t kill someone (or several people) by exercising your right to free speech or due process while high.

2. You can be disqalified from “the right to” drive, operate machinery, care for a child, be a surgeon and any number of other jobs if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

3. Give rapists longer sentences then.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago

1. Exercising the right to free speech most certainly can kill someone…it’s called incitement.

But neither the rights granted by the First nor Second Amendment entail the compulsion to use it for harm…and there are penalties for doing so.

2. None of those rights are specified in the US Constitution because they were not considered then, or now, essential to the ongoing liberty of a free people.

If they are so considered the Constitution can be changed and provisions to do so are set out.

3. Quite…or change the sentencing guidelines for these offences.

Point of Information
Point of Information
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

1. Incitement cannot kill, only another person or persons acting on what they perceive to be incitement. A gun (or car) used while incompetent because of drugs or alcohol, can directly kill and maim multiple people before the user is stopped.

2. I’m not an American, but surely your constitution has something to say about retaining the right to care for and raise your own children? This is widely recognised as a human right. And this right, similarly, can be lost (temporarily or permanently) if you are deemed too incapacitated by drugs or alcohol to preserve the child’s safety.

Governments of all colours and sizes recognize both of the above. Honestly, “only in America…” would a conviction for purveying a gun while regularly high be regarded as a minor paperwork issue.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 month ago

Yet that traditional principle of neutrality under the law is now actively being eroded.

And has been for some time. That a son of the President has now been caught up? I hear the sounds of the Worlds tiniest violin. If Hunter Biden receives an unduly harsh penalty then I might show more sympathy.

Will K
Will K
1 month ago

Many people in the USA feel that there is now little connection between the processes of the Law, and what a reasonable person considers Just. The reasons are many and obvious: the life-destroying prison sentences, the absence of any concept of mercy or redemption, the parading in chains, the cage-like inhuman prison conditions, the bail that can’t possibly be met, the need for expensive lawyers, the pressure of plea agreements, the strong suspicions of political motivations, the “crimes” which have no victims, or are hard to explain, the civil verdicts that rely only on allegations and have literally no proof, the gag orders, the overbearing judges, the rejoicing of the media and the members of political parties when their desired victim is punished.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago
Reply to  Will K

Perceptive points. Unfortunately, while the problems with our American legal system are obvious, the solutions to those problems are not. Defund the police did more harm than good, and even liberal San Francisco booted their district attorney for being too lenient on crime.
I studied and worked in the Japanese legal system for almost a decade, and they do things quite differently to much more success, but I don’t think what they do would work here.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago

A key distinction is missed here. Donald Trump was prosecuted for political gain by his political enemies. Hunter Biden was prosecuted for political gain too, not by his political enemies but by his own father!
Joe Biden’s justice department brought the charges against Hunter Biden. Joe Biden’s justice department offered Hunter Biden a sweet plea bargain that he was foolish enough to turn down. That Hunter Biden now faces an uncertain sentence is his own fault.
Some people say that the justice department is independent of the president. That’s simply false. Attorney general Merrick Garland was appointed by Joe Biden and sits in his cabinet. All the power of the attorney general is delegated by the president. US attorney and now special counsel David Weiss was appointed by Merrick Garland and works under his direction.
Joe Biden should never have said publicly (or privately, for that matter) that his son Hunter Biden did nothing wrong. Joe Biden should never have said that Donald Trump should be prosecuted. But he did. And that gave Merrick Garland (and other Democratic prosecutors) their instructions from their leader.
If Hunter Biden was mistreated by the legal system, it was his own father that was responsible. The same cannot be said for Donald Trump. His prosecution was pure persecution by his political opponents.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago

He knowingly broke the law and presumably was aware of the consequences.
Whether this is a “victimless crime” (a dangerously subjective term – people claim that insider trading is, but that’s not true) is irrelevant.
The verdict isn’t unjust. The author doesn’t dispute the guilt.
Since the punishment isn’t yet decided, it seems premature to claim that this is unjust.
Yes, I agree that Hunter Biden should get the same treatment as any other US citizen doing the same – no harsher and no more lenient.
Yes, the US legal system has some serious shortcomings in practice. Though, quite astonishingly, the UK’s Mike Lynch was found not guilty last week after being extradited to the US in a quite ridiculous case brought by HP (who’d simply failed to do due diligence before buying the company he led). Sometimes it works as it ought to.

David Giles
David Giles
1 month ago

“Yeah, OK, so he’s guilty. But they kinda let him off a more serious charge and crack addicts with guns in their hands is victimless until they shoot someone and he isn’t a Republican. So what the hell guys, release him”.

And you wonder why the Deplorables smell a rat every time you walk into the room.

Jim Haggerty
Jim Haggerty
1 month ago

All he had to do was accept the plea deal offered by the DOJ. They handed him a get out of jail free card with that agreement, and let other charges expire….He chose to roll the dice and crapped out…He’s counting on a pardon from his Father

Jim Haggerty
Jim Haggerty
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Haggerty

And the “Russian fake laptop” which was nonsense and used in his prosecution also shows him lobbying for a Chinese and a Ukrainian company while not registered as a lobbyist….that seems be off the media radar for now..

Terry M
Terry M
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Haggerty

That is being studiously ignored by the criminal MSM.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 month ago

To be sure if HB weren’t the President’s son it’s unlikely that he would have been prosecuted for this, and indeed it is unlikely that anybody would have even found out that he lied on the federal form. However, that being said, if he weren’t the president’s son he wouldn’t be selling his talentless paintings for over a $1 million, and similarly he wouldn’t have been able to rack in millions influence peddling (via access to his father) in Ukraine and China in areas where he had zero expertise.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Good points. It’s true that a normal person would not have been prosecuted. But the ones doing the prosecution here are not the Republicans, but the Democrats. They decided to bring these charges. The Republicans had nothing to do with it.
I would have had no problem if the Democrats chose not to bring felony charges against Hunter Biden. The legal system is not set up to give him a fair trial.

Joe Donovan
Joe Donovan
1 month ago

Hunter Biden as victim! Help me I am dying from laughter!

Jo Jo
Jo Jo
1 month ago

If Harry can get away with not declaring drug use on his visa application (although he does in his book), why shouldn’t Hunter?

Mark epperson
Mark epperson
1 month ago

Wow, this dude has no shame, morals, or any critical thinking skills. I don’t believe I have ever read such a bizarre, BS spin piece as perpetrated by this hack. Someone obviously gave him a LOT of money to be ridiculed and ripped apart by even leftists. Pure partisan pap.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 month ago

Given everything, the verdict was just and deserved. With no prior convictions and no suggestion that he lied in order to get a gun to use in commission of crimes, a harsh sentence would be unjust, and we will know that soon enough. No jail time, a couple years probation, and prohibition on gun ownership for a few years seems about right.
Did I miss the author’s article about the various legal travesties being inflicted on Donald Trump? Or is he just another partisan hack?

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 month ago

Maybe Hunter should have talked to his father, who has been at the top of US politics drafting and passing laws for decades. I guess there wasn’t enough time though what with Hunter acting as Dad’s bagman.

Rita X Stafford
Rita X Stafford
1 month ago

Nothing much will happen to Hunter Biden but this could be the trial that justifies the Feds going after the millions of heavily armed pot smoking second amendment Trump voters. After all, ‘no one is above the law’ is a very popular phrase these days.