President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, has been criminally charged with three counts of lying when buying a firearm after a proposed plea deal collapsed.

The indictment marks the first time the child of a sitting president has been criminally prosecuted.

A planned plea bargain to resolve the gun and tax-related charges he faced abruptly fell apart in July.

All three counts relate to Mr. Biden, 53, allegedly lying on forms while buying a gun when he was a drug user.

Prosecutors allege he falsely claimed that he was “not an unlawful user of and addicted to any stimulant narcotic drug” when he purchased a Colt Cobra Special revolver at a Delaware gun store in October 2018.

At the time, Mr. Biden was a heavy user of crack cocaine.

Under US federal laws, it is a crime to lie on such documentation or possess a firearm while a drug user.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison, the justice department said in a statement. Actual sentences for federal crimes are usually less than the maximum possible penalties.

It is still unclear when and where Mr. Biden’s initial court appearance will take place.
Mr. Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, suggested the charges had been influenced by “Republicans’ improper and partisan interference in this process”.

He said his client “did not violate the law” and that his brief possession of an unloaded gun was never a threat to public safety.