The message incorrectly compares the gun offenses of Hunter Biden and Kodak Black

The claim: Kodak Black and Hunter Biden faced the same charge, but only Black was sentenced to prison

A June 20 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) shows screenshots of two articles: one from the Associated Press titled “Rapper Kodak Black gets over three years in jail weapons” and another from the New York Post titled “Hunter Biden to plead guilty to federal tax and felony firearm charges.

“2 levels of justice? reads the caption of the post. “Kodak has been indicted for the same crime. More than 3 years. Mr. Biden will not serve a day. Are you okay? Are FBI agents and feds taking the cases personally?”

The post generated over 3,000 likes in less than a week. Similar posts, including those shared by Republican Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene and Republican Florida Representative Bryon Donaldshave accumulated hundreds of interactions on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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Our opinion: Partially false

Hunter Biden, the president’s son, was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm as a drug addict, while Kodak Black was charged with falsifying documents to obtain a firearm. Although they were charged under the same law, the charge for each fell under different subsections, one based on drug use and the other on intent to deceive.

Experts also say the claim that the two men should have received similar sentences falls flat because they were not similar defendants: Biden is a first-time offender and Black has prior offenses that were taken into account in his sentence. And if Biden completes a pretrial program, he won’t be convicted of the firearms offense.

Legal experts say the two cases are not comparable

On June 20, Biden agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts and participate in a pre-trial program to solve a felony charge of unlawful possession of a firearm as a drug addict, as the reported USA TODAY. The program could lead to the dismissal of the firearms charge.

The post in question was shared by Bradford Cohen, Black’s attorney. Black was sentenced to 46 months in prison for falsifying information on federal forms to purchase firearms from a Florida gun store twice in 2019. He allegedly forged his social security number and lied about the being indicted for a crime. Former President Donald Trump commuted Black’s sentence before leaving office in 2021.

But legal experts said the two gun cases cannot be compared.

Contrary to what the post claims, the two men were charged under different sections of the same law – 18 US Code § 922, according to Fordham University law professor Bennett Capers.

Black was charged with 922(a)(6), making it a felony to lie to obtain a gun with intent to deceive, and Biden was charged with 922(g)(3), which makes it a crime for someone who is using an illegal substance to possess a firearm.

The legal maximum for both subsections is 10 years in prison. But any judge would consider the seriousness of the offense, the deliberate nature of the criminal conduct, the defendant’s criminal history, any criminal record of substance abuse or violence, and the defendant’s general background when imposing a sentence. a sentence, according to Joan Meyer, a partner at the Thompson Hine law firm.

In Black’s case, his long record of arrests and crimes factored into his prison sentence, experts said. For example, he was indicted by a grand jury in 2016 for criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, as reported by CNN. He later pleaded guilty to first-degree battery in that case and was sentenced to probation in 2021. He has also been arrested multiple times and charged with robbery and battery in South Florida, according to the Miami Herald.

“His story and the types of charges he faced warranted a prison sentence; by contrast, Biden is a nonviolent first-time offender,” Meyer said in an email. “Biden does not face the same consequences because the differences between the two do not warrant the same treatment.”

Bradley Moss, a national security attorney, agreed.

“Kodak Black had an extensive criminal history prior to being charged with this particular crime, including more than one case on probation,” Moss said in an email. taking into account Hunter’s drug problems.

Fact check: No, Trump was not charged with espionage in an investigation into classified documents

Cohen, Black’s attorney, told USA TODAY in an email that Biden and Black lied on Form 4473 to get a gun, so he thinks Biden should be sentenced to prison like Black. .

But experts say that’s an oversimplification.

“There are a lot of factors that go into determining someone’s offense level, and that’s before we consider criminal history,” Capers said. “Two people who commit the same offense can still have very different sentences.”

Meyer said prosecutors are not prohibited from offering Biden a pretrial diversion.

“While prosecutors generally don’t provide a diversion for gun charges, Biden has no prior criminal record and did not use or wield a firearm,” Meyer said. “Black, on the other hand, had a significant run-in with law enforcement and his offense and story warranted a decent jail sentence. The disparity between the two is not extraordinary.

USA TODAY reached out to social media users who shared the claim for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

The Associated Press debunked a similar claim.

Our fact-checking sources:

  • Bradley Moss, June 25, email exchange with USA TODAY

  • Joan Meyer, June 25, email exchange with USA TODAY

  • Cheryl Bader, June 25, email exchange with USA TODAY

  • Bennett Capers, June 25, email exchange with USA TODAY

  • Cornell Legal Information Institute, Accessed June 28 18 U.S. Code § 922 – Unlawful Acts

  • Southern Florida District Attorney’s Office, August 22, 2019, Broward County resident pleads guilty to knowingly making false statements in order to illegally acquire firearms

  • PBS News, June 20, Hunter Biden agrees to plead for income tax, illegal weapons charges

  • USA TODAY, June 20, Hunter Biden to plead guilty to two tax charges, resolve federal gun violation: DOJ

  • USA TODAY, January 20, 2021, Lil Wayne Thanks Trump For ‘Another Chance’ After Pardon; Kodak Black released from prison

  • CNN, April 19, 2019, rapper Kodak Black arrested

  • Associated Press, November 13, 2019, rapper Kodak Black gets jail time in weapons case

  • Associated Press, April 28, 2021 Rapper Kodak Black gets probation in teen assault case

  • Miami Herald, February 27, Timeline: Kodak Black Arrests, Legal Troubles in South Florida

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Viral post wrongly compares Hunter Biden and Kodak Black cases | Fact check

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