A federal judge in Delaware has rejected a request by Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, to appear in court via video conference for his arraignment on gun charges. The judge, Christopher Burke, ordered Biden to appear in person on October 3, 2023.
Biden’s lawyers had requested the video appearance, arguing that it would minimize the “unnecessary burden” on government resources, including his Secret Service protection. They also argued that Biden was familiar with video conferencing technology and that he would be able to participate in the hearing fully and effectively.
Burke gave a number of reasons for denying, including that the Court believes the appearance in important because its one of the few times that the defendant will physically be in the courtroom and the setting “helps to emphasize the ‘integrity and solemnity of a federal criminal proceeding.’”
“Moreover, in this matter, most of the criminal charges that Defendant now faces are new and were not addressed at his prior hearing in July 2023-such that this will be the first time they are discussed in court,” Burke wrote. “The Court will also address Defendant’s pre-trial release conditions; while the Court expects it is likely that the currently-imposed conditions will remain in place, were either side to suggest alterations, the Court would want to be able to address that issue in person with the parties.”
“Other than during the exigent circumstances of the COVID crisis (when the Court was proceeding under the auspices of the now-expired CARES Act standing order), in 12 years as a judge on this Court, the undersigned cannot recall ever having conducted an initial appearance other than in person,” he continued. “That has been the case as to defendants of all types, regardless of their location or personal circumstance.”
Burke used the words from Hunter Biden’s legal team against him, saying that he agrees that Hunter Biden “should not receive special treatment in this matter-absent some unusual circumstance, he should be treated just as would any other defendant in our Court.”
“Any other defendant would be required to attend his or her initial appearance in person,” he said. “So too here.”
A judge denies Hunter Biden's request for a virtual hearing. He is ordered to appear in person for his arraignment on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/iELOcwTeY5
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 20, 2023