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Joe Biden’s son booted from Navy over cocaine use

  • Vice President Joe Biden, left, with his son Hunter, right, at the Duke Georgetown college basketball game in Washington in Jan. 2010. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

WASHINGTON » Hunter Biden, the younger son of Vice President Joe Biden, failed a drug test and was discharged this year from the Navy Reserve, people familiar with the matter said Thursday.

Biden, 44, tested positive for cocaine, those people said.

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Thomas M. Gallagher, Biden said he was "embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge." He added that he respected the Navy’s decision.

Biden was commissioned as an ensign on May 7, 2013, and, assigned to a public affairs reserve unit in Norfolk, Virginia.

He called it "the honor of my life to serve in the U.S. Navy," adding, "I deeply regret" the actions that led to being discharged. "With the love and support of my family, I’m moving forward," he said in the statement.

A person close to the decision said Biden was not treated differently from any other Navy Reserve sailor.

Biden was tested for drugs in June 2013, after he reported to his unit in Norfolk, and the result was positive for cocaine, according to the people familiar with the matter. The Navy said he was discharged in February.

It was unclear why Biden decided to join the Navy Reserve while in his 40s. He needed a waiver because of his age. He received a second waiver because of a drug-related incident when he was young, said the people familiar with his discharge, which was first reported in The Wall Street Journal.

Biden’s brother, Beau, served in the Delaware Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq for a year. Beau Biden now serves as the Delaware attorney general and plans to run for governor in 2016.

Hunter Biden, who is married with two children, is a lawyer and a partner at Rosemont Seneca Partners, an investment company. In May, he was appointed to the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company.

Biden’s mother and his younger sister were killed in an automobile accident in 1972, in which he and his brother were seriously injured.

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