Last week, Hunter Biden was indicted on federal gun charges in Delaware after a plea deal collapsed earlier this summer. Notwithstanding the seriousness of the charges and the public interest in full disclosure, his mugshot remains shielded from disclosure. This situation raises questions about transparency and special treatment in the justice system.
“Hunter Biden was previously fingerprinted and had his mugshot taken when he was in court in July when his plea deal collapsed. Because it was in federal court, the photo was not made public,” reported CNN.
🚨 BREAKING: Hunter Biden has a mugshot, Jesse Watters says he has put in a FOIA request with the DOJ and US Marshals to have it released. pic.twitter.com/6OSzEi3Mo6
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) September 20, 2023
As mentioned in a letter to Magistrate Judge Christopher Burke, Hunter Biden has been allowed the option to have his initial court appearance held remotely. His attorney, Abbe Lowell, wrote, “Mr. Biden is not seeking any special treatment in making this request. He has attended and will attend any proceedings in which his physical appearance is required.”
The question of transparency, however, looms large in this situation. Jesse Watters, a Fox News host, has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Marshal’s Service to acquire the elusive mugshot. Watters pondered, “What is so special about a mugshot that they don’t want us to see? Did he smile? Did he look defiant? You know, in light of transparency, this mugshot must be released.”
What makes Hunter Biden’s case distinct, warranting secrecy? As the son of the sitting President, he is a public figure. His indictment on felony gun charges, including lying on an FBI background check about drug use — something he admitted to in his memoir, “Beautiful Things” — makes this a matter of public interest.
While Hunter Biden deserves due process, the lack of transparency in not releasing his mugshot calls into question whether he’s receiving special treatment. Furthermore, this feeds into larger discussions about equity in the U.S. legal system. The shielded mugshot is only a small fragment of a broader narrative involving Hunter Biden’s legal and ethical challenges. Yet, it is a fragment that raises uncomfortable questions about double standards and public accountability, which deserve answers.