President Biden says he won't commute son's sentence after conviction in gun case

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden said Thursday he won't commute any sentence given to his son Hunter Biden for three federal gun felonies after a White House official did not rule out the possibility of a reprieve the previous day.

"No," Biden told reporters when asked at a Group of Seven nations summit in Fasano, Italy, whether he would commute his son's sentence.

In his first public remarks on his son's guilty verdict, Biden also reiterated that he won't pardon Hunter Biden, who a federal jury in Wilmington, Delaware, found guilty Tuesday of three gun felonies, making him the first child of a sitting president to be convicted of a crime.

“I'm extremely proud of my son Hunter. He has overcome an addiction. He's one of the brightest, most decent men I know," Biden said. "And I am satisfied that I'm not going to do anything − I said I would abide by the jury's decision. I will do that. And I will not pardon him.”

President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Masseria San Domenico on the sidelines of the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri.
President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Masseria San Domenico on the sidelines of the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri.

Hunter Biden, 54, was found guilty of falsely filling out a federal form denying he was addicted to narcotics when he purchased a firearm, lying to a gun dealer and knowingly possessing the revolver despite restrictions against people addicted to drugs owning firearms.

He faces up to 25 years in prison for the three charges, though first-time, nonviolent offenders typically receive shorter sentences. Many legal experts do not believe incarceration is likely for the president's son.

While a presidential pardon exonerates a convicted individual of all guilt in their crime, a commutation keeps the conviction intact but typically reduces or removes the punishment.

President Joe Biden hugs his son Hunter Biden upon arrival at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, on June 11, 2024, as he travels to Wilmington, Delaware.
President Joe Biden hugs his son Hunter Biden upon arrival at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, on June 11, 2024, as he travels to Wilmington, Delaware.

For example, former President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of longtime adviser and friend Roger Stone before his term ended, sparing him from having to report to prison for seven felonies. Trump also later pardoned Stone.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre would not say whether Biden would consider commuting Hunter Biden's sentence, which U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika will hand down on a to-be-determined date.

Biden responded to the guilty verdict initially Tuesday with a prepared written statement that said he loves his son, is proud of him and "will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal."

Reach Joey Garrison on X @joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Biden says he won't commute Hunter's sentence in gun case