Hunter Biden to plead not guilty to gun charge

Hunter Biden will plead not guilty to a federal firearms charge following the collapse of a plea deal.

Lawyers for President Joe Biden's son confirmed their intention in a letter to the judge while also asking for the initial court appearance to be held remotely.

The 53-year-old was indicted last week for possessing a gun while being a crack cocaine user and lying on a form to buy the weapon.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

He is asking to enter the plea remotely via video conference, saying that would avoid the costs of Secret Service protection as he travels from his home in California to Delaware, as well as logistical challenges in Wilmington.

Prosecutors are expected to oppose that request.

Biden has also been under investigation for his business dealings, and the special counsel has indicated that tax charges could be filed at some point in Washington or in California.

Earlier this week Biden sued the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), claiming that two agents wrongly shared his personal information.

The agents "targeted and sought to embarrass Mr Biden" with the sharing of confidential tax information in press interviews and testimony before Congress, the suit said.

His lawyers argue that whistleblower protections do not apply, but a lawyer for one agent said any confidential information released came under whistleblower authorisation.

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The suit says the IRS has not done enough to halt the airing of his personal information. It seeks to "force compliance with federal tax and privacy laws" and damages of $1,000 dollars (£807) for "each and every unauthorised disclosure of his tax return information".

The various investigations into Hunter Biden date back several years. He had been expected to strike a deal with prosecutors over the summer that included guilty pleas to misdemeanour charges of failing to pay his taxes on time.

But that deal imploded during a July court hearing.

Mr Biden's defence lawyers have indicated they plan to fight the charges and the case could be on track toward a possible high-stakes trial.

The lawsuit marks the latest legal pushback from Mr Biden as a long-running federal investigation into him unfolds against a political backdrop.

That includes an impeachment inquiry aimed at his father seeking to tie him to his son's business dealings.