Hunter Biden: Now the next political celebrity is being put on trial

First Delaware, then California: The son of US President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, has to answer to the court. Initially for illegal possession of weapons. These are the aftermath of the first impeachment trial against Donald Trump.

Next trial with prominent political names: Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, has to answer for illegal possession of weapons. The trial starts on June 3, two and a half weeks before he has to answer for tax fraud in California.

The 54-year-old is not only in the crosshairs of the judiciary, but also of the opposition Republicans. They accuse him of having exploited his father's important position as Barack Obama's then Vice President for business in Ukraine and China.

What exactly is Hunter Biden accused of?

The president's son was charged with illegal possession of weapons in September 2023. In 2018, he is said to have briefly owned a revolver, although this was prohibited for him as a drug user. In this context, he is also accused of making false statements in official documents for the purchase of weapons. Biden pleads not guilty to the three charges.

Where does the process take place?

In Wilmington, Delaware, where Joe Biden lives, Judge Maryellen Noreika will hear the charges. In August, she rejected a settlement agreement between Hunter Biden and the US government, as well as a request to postpone the trial. They had argued that the prosecution had accused Biden mainly due to political pressure from Republicans.

What is the evidence?

According to the indictment, Hunter Biden checked a box when purchasing the weapon in which he falsely stated that he was not addicted to drugs. The weapon was later found in a dumpster behind a grocery store. According to investigators, traces of cocaine were found on the weapon's case. Biden said he was struggling with addiction problems at the time.

Why have the allegations become a political issue?

Hunter Biden is under special scrutiny because of his drug addiction and excessive lifestyle. He was also indirectly the trigger for the first impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. For five years, Biden Junior held a well-paid board position at the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which was suspected of corruption by US authorities.

As US President, Trump had called for investigations into Hunter Biden, but Ukraine saw no reason for this. Since then, Republicans have been trying to prove wrongdoing by Hunter Biden and thus also by his father. So far, to no avail. The Republicans' declared goal is to initiate impeachment proceedings against the incumbent US President.

At the beginning, the Republicans suffered an embarrassment when a former FBI informant, whom they had presented as a key witness in their corruption allegations against the president, was arrested and charged. Alexander Smirnov is said to have fabricated the allegations of bribery against Biden and lied to investigators.

Who is Hunter Biden?

The 54-year-old is Joe Biden's second son. His older brother Beau Biden died of a brain tumor in 2015. As children, they survived a serious car accident in which Joe Biden's first wife Neilia and their daughter Naomi died. Hunter is a lawyer and has worked as a lobbyist and businessman. He has one of his four children with his second wife Melissa Cohen, a South African filmmaker. Biden has also worked as an artist and sold his works for millions. He will have to answer for tax evasion in his native California from the end of June.

Sources: DPA, AFP, Reuters, “The Guardian”, ABC News