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White House Refuses to Rule Out Commuting Hunter Biden’s Sentence Following Guilty Verdict

Published: June 12, 2024
President Joe Biden talks with his son Hunter Biden upon arrival at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, on June 11, 2024, as he travels to Wilmington, Delaware. A jury found Hunter Biden guilty on June 11 on federal gun charges in a historic first criminal prosecution of the child of a sitting U.S. president. The 54-year-old son of President Joe Biden was convicted on all three of the federal charges facing him. (Image: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)

While Joe Biden has been vocal about not pardoning his son, Hunter Biden, after he was convicted on three federal gun charges on June 11, recent comments from White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, indicate that the president may still be considering offering some clemency to his son by commuting his sentence.

When responding to a reporter who asked whether commuting his son’s sentence was “something that would be on the table,” Jean-Pierre said that she hadn’t spoken to the president since the announcement of the verdict and that the “sentencing hasn’t even been scheduled yet.”

“He’s been very clear. We’ve been very clear. You know, he loves his son. And he and the first lady love their son and they support their son. I just don’t have anything, certainly anything beyond that,” Jean-Pierre said and noted that the president recently said he would accept the verdict of the trial and that he has ruled out pardoning the junior Biden.

“So you’re ruling out he would commute the sentence?” another reporter followed up.

“What I’m saying is he was asked about a pardon. He was asked about the trial specifically, and he answered it very clearly, very forthright. I don’t have anything beyond what the president said. He’s been very clear about this.” 


Jail time likely 

Experts say that Hunter Biden will most likely be sentenced to prison. However, it’s not a certainty since this is technically his first offense, his crime was non-violent and he did not commit an additional crime with the firearm he purchased illegally, which all work in his favor.

He is facing a possible sentence of 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000.

However, according data from the United States Sentencing Commission, someone convicted of the crimes Biden has been would typically receive a sentence of somewhere between 15 and 21 months.

According to the same data, around 30 percent of people sentenced in a similar category from 2019 to 2023 were sentenced to probation only, no jail time.

It’s unclear what fate is in store for the president’s son, however a sympathetic news media has focused on Hunter’s many struggles, including his alcohol and drug addictions which may become factors considered during his sentencing, which is expected to occur within the next 120 days. 

However, Duncan Levin, a criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, told The Daily Beast that sentencing the junior Biden to jail time could be seen as a political move.

“If the special prosecutor asks for jail, his politics are showing,” he said. 

“This case does not merit any jail time,” he added. 


Other charges pending

Hunter Biden also has to reckon with a slew of other tax related charges, in addition to his current convictions.

An indictment, filed by special prosecutor’s David Weiss’s office, alleges that Biden engaged in a multi-year scheme to avoid paying more than $1.4 million in taxes between 2016 and 2019.

The indictment says, while Hunter was dodging taxes he was spending millions “on an extravagant lifestyle,” and subverting his company’s payroll and tax withholding process by siphoning off millions. 

The indictment also says that Hunter “willfully failed” to pay taxes from 2016 to 2018 inclusive and that in 2018 he stopped paying overdue and outstanding taxes for 2015.

Hunter is also being accused of including false business deductions in his 2018 return in order to “evade assessment of taxes to reduce the substantial tax liabilities he faced as of February 2020.”

His trial on tax charges is scheduled to begin in early September this year.