Can Hunter Biden Afford to Mount a Second Amendment Defense on Gun Charges?

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Hunter Biden's federal trial for lying about his drug use when purchasing a firearm, as well as possessing a gun as an "unlawful user of drugs" is set to begin in a Delaware courtroom on June 3rd, but the defendant is facing a major problem as his team prepares his defense: he's running out of money to pay them. 

A Hollywood executive named Kevin Morris has been Biden's financial lifeline since he was charged; allegedly loaning the president's son more than $6 million to pay for his attorneys over the past few years. But now a person "close to Morris" told POLITICO that Biden's benefactor is "completely tapped out" and he shouldn't expect any more infusions of cash... at least from this particular source. 

Morris has played a key role in handling Biden’s legal bills, as he detailed in an interview with lawmakers in January. The possibility that Morris can no longer serve as a benefactor is the latest sign of the tumult surrounding the president’s son in the final weeks of preparation for two trials that he — and his father — had hoped would never happen.

The person close to Morris said that the Hollywood lawyer faces financial constraints that present “a huge problem” and that there are concerns about how Biden will pay for expert witnesses to testify for him at his Delaware trial. It is unclear precisely how much Morris has spent thus far to support Biden, but in a January letter to the House oversight committee, Morris’ lawyer said Morris had loaned Biden more than $6.5 million.

On Tuesday, Biden's attorney Abbe Lowell requested a delay in the trial, arguing that he was still trying to finalize agreements with paid experts to testify on Biden's behalf. U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika turned away Lowell's request, keeping the June 3rd date in place. 

Morris and Biden met in 2019 during now-President Biden’s campaign. They both were raised in the mid-Atlantic in Roman Catholic families, and immediately developed a close bond. At the time, Biden was trying to get his life on track and stay sober. Morris helped him get safe housing and pay his overdue tax bill. In his January interview with congressional investigators, Morris said he and Biden spoke every day and were like family.

CNN reported in October that Biden has racked up more than $10 million in legal bills over the years. Since becoming sober several years ago, the president’s son has focused on painting as his occupation. He signed with a New York gallerist, Georges Berges, to sell his work. But that gallerist told congressional investigators that the relationship was not as lucrative as he had hoped, and that Biden’s art would have sold for more if not for the baggage associated with his name.

Seriously? I doubt anyone would have been interested in Biden's paintings if it weren't for his name. In fact, Berges acknowledged that of the twenty paintings of Biden's that were sold, eleven of them were purchased by none other than Kevin Morris. Buying a Hunter Biden painting is kind of like buying a ticket to a John Hinckley, Jr. concert; it's not about the art, but the infamy of the "artist".

So what will Hunter do now that his well-funded pal has cut him off? I suppose he could always ask Dad for a loan, though that would prove to be incredibly awkward for the elder Biden, especially if Lowell does end up making a Second Amendment argument in Hunter's defense and challenges the DOJ's assertion that only "law-abiding" citizens are entitled to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. 

Biden could also get rid of his current legal team and ask the judge for a delay while he seeks new (and cheaper) counsel, but there's no guarantee that Noreika would grant that request, and unless Biden can find someone willing to work pro bono he's still gonna have to come up with the money to mount a defense. Maybe he should reach out to the Firearms Policy Coalition? 

As delicious as it would be to see FPC attorneys using Biden's legal woes to challenge the federal statute barring "unlawful" users of drugs from purchasing or possessing firearms, I doubt the defendant would be willing to turn to a 2A organization to keep him out of prison even if the FPC's offer still stands. 

Biden's best exit strategy is to explore the possibility of a plea bargain, which would negate the need for expert witnesses or a lengthy and expensive trial. Shortly after his previous deal collapsed last summer, Lowell told CBS News that a trial wasn't inevitable, suggesting that his client would still be open to a deal that kept him out of prison. 

My guess is that Lowell and the rest of Biden's legal team will be exploring that possibility in earnest over the next few weeks, or at least as long as they're still getting paid. Unless Biden can find another deep-pocketed buddy to pony up some much-needed cash before June 3rd, he might not be able to afford to take the case to trial and use the Second Amendment as his shield.