Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, could be imprisoned if he consumes any drugs or alcohol in violation of the conditions of his release, according to a court order issued by U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika.
Biden was in federal court in Delaware on Wednesday, where he had planned to enter a guilty plea in a deal negotiated between his lawyers and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). However, the judge questioned whether the plea covered future charges from the DOJ’s ongoing investigation and the two sides were unable to come to an agreement. As a result, Biden was forced to enter a not-guilty plea and must return to court in the future.
The conditions of release include signing an affidavit agreeing not to consume alcohol or drugs, including marijuana, and to participate in “a program of inpatient or outpatient substance abuse therapy and counseling.” Furthermore, Biden must “continue or actively seek employment” and must inform the court “in writing” of his international travel plans. He could also be required to submit to random drug and alcohol testing, and potentially face imprisonment for violating the conditions.
The judge’s decision to hold Biden accountable for his actions is being largely seen as a victory for those who oppose leniency for the powerful and connected. The prosecutor’s decision to agree to a limited plea deal is also being read as an indication that the DOJ is taking the investigation into the First Son seriously.
The case has attracted significant attention due to Biden’s prominent role in political life and allegations of favoritism, particularly in light of reports that Biden’s lawyers secured a “broad immunity from prosecution in perpetuity” should the deal go through.
For his part, Biden, who has admitted to struggling with addiction in the past, is saying little about the case, but released an earlier statement in which he apologized for his mistakes and said he is “determined to make amends.”
It remains to be seen how the DOJ’s investigation into Hunter Biden will play out in the coming weeks and months, but one thing is clear: the judge wants to ensure that the powerful and connected are held to the same standards as all other citizens.
BREAKING: Judge Maryellen Noreika is not messing around as she is now threatening to have Hunter Biden arrested if he fails to comply with new conditions.
If Hunter consumes alcohol or drugs including marijuana, he will be arrested & be prosecuted for contempt of court.
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) July 26, 2023