Biden says he will not reduce son’s sentence

Washington DC, US

President Joe Biden has said he would not use his power to reduce any prison sentence handed down to his son, a day after the White House declined to comment on the possibility.

Speaking at the G7 summit in Italy, the president said he would not commute Hunter Biden’s sentence on a federal gun charge.

A Delaware jury on Tuesday found Hunter Biden guilty of lying about his drug use when buying a revolver in 2018.

“I said I abide by the jury decision. I will do that. And I will not pardon him,” the president said Thursday.

In response to a question, Mr Biden also said he would not use his presidential power to commute – or reduce – his son’s sentence.

Before the verdict, Mr Biden said he would not issue a pardon in the event of a guilty verdict.

However when asked about a commutation after the verdict was passed, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre would not comment and referred to the president’s earlier statements.

US presidents have the power to commute sentences for defendants convicted of federal offences. They can also choose to issue outright pardons, vacating convictions entirely.

Commuting a sentence would leave the conviction intact, but replace a sentence given in court with a lesser one.

Presidents do not have the power of commutation or pardon in state-level cases.

“I’m extremely proud of my son, Hunter,” President Biden said during Thursday’s news conference. “He has overcome an addiction. He’s one of the brightest, most decent men I know. And I am satisfied that I’m not going to do anything.”

Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to two charges related to lying about his drug use on a federal background check, and one for possessing a gun while addicted to or using drugs.

The 54-year-old claimed he was in recovery when he purchased the gun in October 2018.

In total, Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison, though legal experts say a sentence that long is very unlikely.

Constitutional scholars disagree on whether a president’s pardon power includes himself, though Donald Trump – if he won the presidency in November – could be the first to try if he were to be convicted in either of the two federal criminal cases he faces.

Source: BBC News

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