Biden Hunter trial: ex-wife expected to testify

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Hunter Biden spent hours showing jurors evidence of his drug problem, seeking to reveal in his own words and writing the depth of his addiction to show it was still relevant when, they say, he lied on a form to purchase a firearm.

Testimony was scheduled to continue Wednesday. Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, is expected to be among the witnesses. She was married to President Joe Biden’s son for about 20 years. They have three children and divorced in 2016 after his infidelity and drug addiction became too much to overcome, according to his memoir, “If We Break,” about the dissolution of their marriage.

Buhle is among several Biden family members and friends expected to testify in a trial that has quickly become a highly personal and detailed look at Hunter Biden’s mistakes and drug use. the 2024 presidential election looms and allies worry about the toll it will take on the president, who is deeply concerned about the health and lasting sobriety of his only living son. Prosecutors argue the testimony is necessary to show Hunter Biden’s state of mind when he purchased the gun.

Hunter Biden was Charged with three felonies Following the purchase of a firearm in October 2018, he was accused of lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false statement on the application by claiming he was not a drug user and illegally possessed the weapon for 11 days.

“No one is allowed to lie on a federal form like that, even Hunter Biden,” prosecutor Derek Hines told jurors Tuesday. “He crossed the line when he chose to purchase a firearm and lied about a federal background check…the defendant’s choice to purchase a firearm is the reason why we are here.”

“When the defendant filled out this form, he knew he was a drug addict,” and prosecutors don’t have to prove he was using on the day he bought the drugs, Hines said.

First lady Jill Biden and her daughter, Ashley Biden, sat in the courtroom for much of Tuesday. Biden Hunter’s lawyer argued that his client did not believe he was in the throes of addiction when he said in documents that he did not have a drug problem. In the short time he had the gun, he did nothing with it and the gun was never even loaded, attorney Abbe Lowell said in his opening statement.

“You will see that he is not guilty,” Lowell said.

Lowell said the form asks if you “are” a drug user. “He doesn’t say ‘have you ever been,'” and he suggested that the president’s son didn’t think of himself as someone with a drug problem when he bought the gun.

His state of mind must be taken into account at the time of purchase, not later when, once sober, he wrote a memoir “Beautiful Things” about some of his darkest moments. The jury heard long audio extracts from the book which traces his lineage after the death of his brotherBeau Biden, in 2015 from cancer.

The Delaware lawsuit comes after the collapse of a plea deal with prosecutors That would have resolved the gun case and another California tax case and avoided the spectacle of a trial. Hunter Biden has since pleaded not guilty and said he was unfairly targeted by the Justice Department, after Republicans criticized the now-defunct plea deal, calling it a sweetheart deal for the son of Democratic president.

The 12-person panel heard opening statements and testimony Tuesday from an FBI agent who read aloud some of Hunter Biden’s personal messages, including some from a laptop he left in a Delaware repair shop and never recovered. In 2020, contents made their way to Republicans and was leaked publicly, revealing very personal messages about his work and life. He has since filed a complaint over the leaked information.

In an exchange with Beau Biden’s widow, Hallie Biden, the day after purchasing the gun, she wrote: “I have called you 500 times in the last 24 hours. » Hunter responded less than a minute later, informing her that he was “sleeping in a car smoking crack on 4th Street and Rodney.”

“This is my truth,” he added in a follow-up text.

But during cross-examination, the FBI agent verified that Hunter Biden sent fewer messages about drug searches in October 2018, around the time he purchased the gun, than in February 2019, a later period in which Lowell described his client as having great difficulty with addiction.

Lowell also questioned receipts from a rehabilitation center, asking whether the officer knew whether he had been treated for drugs or alcohol. She said she couldn’t.

His sister Ashley Biden, who was watching from the courtroom, dabbed her eyes with a tissue and eventually left.

Lawyers said jurors will hear testimony from the president’s brother, James Biden, who is close to Hunter and has helped his nephew during stints in rehab in the past. They will also learn how Hallie Biden became addicted to crack during a brief relationship with Hunter.

Hallie took Hunter’s gun and threw it in the trash at a nearby market, fearing what he might do with it. The gun was later found by someone collecting cans and was eventually handed over to police.

If convicted, Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison, although first-time offenders don’t reach the maximum, and it’s clear whether the judge would give him time behind bars.

The trial comes shortly after Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was Convicted of 34 crimes At New York. The two criminal cases are unrelated, but their proximity underscores the extent to which the courts have taken center stage in the 2024 campaign.

Hunter Biden will also be tried in California in September. Accusations of non-payment of $1.4 million in taxes. Both cases should have been resolved thanks to the agreement with prosecutors last July, the culmination of a years-long investigation into his business dealings.

But Judge Maryellen Noreika, a Trump appointee to the bench, questioned some unusual aspects of the deal. The lawyers failed to find a solution to his questions and the deal collapsed. Attorney General Merrick Garland then appointed a former U.S. Attorney for Delaware, David Weiss, as a special advice In August and a month later, Hunter Biden was indicted.


Long reported in Washington.


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