Federal prosecutors in Hunter Biden gun trial say ‘the law makes no distinction for Hunter Biden’

THE Jury seated in Hunter Biden’s federal gun trialand in its opening statements Tuesday, the prosecution began: “No one is above the law” and “the law does not discriminate for Hunter Biden,” the son of the president of the United States.

Prosecutor Derek Hines acknowledged Hunter Biden’s addiction, saying, “addiction may not be a choice, but lying to buy a gun is.” Defense attorney Abbe Lowell, meanwhile, argued that drug addicts often have a “deep state of denial about their drug use.”

After 90 minutes of opening statements, prosecutors called their first witness, FBI Special Agent Erika Jensen, and played several audio clips from Hunter Biden’s memoir, “Beautiful Things,” which detail the times he said he used drugs.

Biden Hunter’s sister Ashley Biden and first lady Jill Biden are in the courtroom Tuesday, as they were Monday. Hunter Biden’s wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, and Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris are also in court. As the clips played, some jurors grimaced as Ashley Biden and Jill Biden reacted emotionally, with Melissa Cohen Biden offering her support to the first lady and the first lady putting her arm around Ashley Biden’s shoulder. Ashley Biden finally left the courtroom.

William J. Hennessy

President Biden is not present at the trial. He made remarks Tuesday afternoon on executive action on immigration, and he is soon expected to leave for France to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Thursday.

The president’s son was indicted by a federal grand jury in September after a diversion agreement on a gun-related felony and a please treat related to misdemeanor tax charges came to light when Judge Noreika questioned whether the deal would allow Hunter Biden to avoid possible future charges.

He now faces three criminal charges related to his alleged illegal purchase and possession of a firearm in 2018 while he was a drug user. He pleaded not guilty.

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, arrives with his wife Melissa Cohen Biden at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building June 4, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware.

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Opening Statements

In an opening statement lasting about 23 minutes, Hines spoke about the firearms permit form Hunter Biden filled out to purchase the Colt Cobra .38 Special revolver in 2018, accusing Hunter of lying on the form to find out whether he was a drug user when he purchased. the pistol.

William J. Hennessy

“No one is allowed to lie on a form like that,” Hines said in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Hines described sensitive personal details about Hunter’s addiction, introducing text messages in which Hunter requested drugs and referred to himself as “delusional,” a “user” and an “addict.” Hunter Biden’s sister, Ashley Biden, sat behind the defense table and looked up at the courtroom ceiling while wiping away tears with a tissue.

In a nearly hour-long defense opening statement, Lowell said Hunter Biden was in rehab and trying to get sober. He argued that for an addict, there is a difference in form between the question “are you a drug user” and “have you been a drug user?”

William J. Hennessy

Lowell spent much of his opening statement talking about a leather pouch recovered with the gun, which prosecutors said contained traces of cocaine residue. Lowell said Hallie Biden, who at times had a contentious relationship with Hunter Biden, chose the pouch herself when she threw away the gun. Lowell said the pouch was never fingerprinted and its origins and handling were never investigated.


After Jensen took the stand, the government submitted into evidence a paper copy of Hunter Biden’s memoir, “Beautiful Things,” and played excerpts from the audiobook. The excerpts related to Memorial Day weekend 2016, when he visited the Burisma board meeting with his daughter Naomi, and also detailed his relapse into crack/cocaine use, which later led to longer duration of consumption and apparently ended in spring 2018.

In his afternoon testimony, Jensen authenticated text messages recovered from Hunter Biden’s devices that were obtained through a search warrant and showed drug exchanges.

She also reviewed bank records that apparently show large cash withdrawals in the months before the gun was purchased, focusing on a $5,000 bank withdrawal on the same day. Prosecutors also cross-referenced texts and dates of cash withdrawals with excerpts from Hunter Biden’s memoir about the timeline of his drug use.

In addition to Jensen, the prosecution is expected to call Kathleen Buhle, Hunter Biden’s ex-wife; a woman Hunter Biden was romantically involved with from 2017 to 2018; the widow of his brother Beau Biden, Hallie Bidenwith whom he was romantically involved, and five other witnesses, including FBI and DEA agents.

Jury selection

Twelve jurors and four alternates were sworn in on Monday, 10 women and six men, on the first day of the trial.

During the jury selection process, all but one potential juror was aware of the case through news reports, and many said they had an immediate connection to someone struggling with drug or alcohol abuse.

As of 11:45 a.m. Monday, a dozen out of 30 potential jurors had been excused for the cause, including scheduling conflicts and political opinions. One person said gun ownership was a “God-given right,” while another said their opinion of the Bidens was “not good.”

The defense struck another potential juror — who said he was a Fox News viewer — a former Wilmington police officer and later worked with Jill Biden at the college where she taught. He also said he met with President Biden at several events and donated to a challenger to Beau Biden in his race for Delaware attorney general. The potential juror also told the judge he believed prosecutors were filing cases for political reasons, mentioning the criminal case against former President Donald Trump In New York and when asked if “political prosecutions” ever target Democrats, he responded with a resounding “no.”

Other potential jurors also answered “yes” when the judge asked “are some Department of Justice and law enforcement investigations politically motivated?” Many cited the case of Trump in New York.

Before the trial began, Hunter Biden suffered a few setbacks: Norieka refused to allow his lawyers to admit into evidence a second version of the firearm purchase form he filled out to purchase the weapon, and she granted the government’s request to exclude one of the defense’s expert witnesses, Dr. Elie Aoun, who was scheduled to testify about the nature of Hunter Biden’s drug addiction and whether he considered himself an addict .

What are the federal gun charges against Hunter Biden?

In the three-count indictment, the president’s son is accused of making false statements on a federal firearms form about his drug use, certifying that he did not was neither a user nor addicted to any controlled substance during a period when prosecutors allege he was addicted to crack cocaine. cocaine. Hunter Biden purchased a Colt Cobra .38 Special revolver and it remained in his possession for 11 days before being thrown into an outside container by Hallie Biden, his romantic partner at the time.

The president’s son faces up to 25 years in prison and a $750,000 fine if convicted on all counts.

Separately, he faces nine federal tax charges in the Middle District of California in a second indictment filed by Weiss’ office, in which federal prosecutors allege that Hunter Biden engaged in a “four-year scheme” to avoid paying at least $1.4 in federal taxes. References to tax charges are inadmissible at his Delaware gun trial. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges.

Robert Legare contributed to this report.

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