Jurors in Hunter Biden trial hear from clerk who sold him gun

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) – The widow of Hunter Biden’s brother told jurors in her federal gun trial Thursday about the moment she found the revolver in his truck, describing how she put it in a leather pouch, stuffed it in a shopping bag and threw it in a trash can outside a market near her home.

“I panicked and wanted to get rid of it,” she testified about finding the gun and ammunition in the vehicle’s console in October 2018. “I didn’t want it to hurt, and I didn’t want my kids to do that. find it and hurt yourself.

Hunter Biden’s purchase of the Colt revolver — and Hallie Biden’s frenzied disposal of it — are at the heart of the accusations against him. Federal prosecutors say the president’s son was in the throes of a heavy crack addiction when he bought the gun. He was accused of three crimes: Lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false statement on the application that he was not a drug user, and illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days.

Hunter Biden, who has pleaded not guilty, said the Justice Department was bowing to political pressure from Republicans and was being unfairly targeted.

Hallie Biden, who had a brief romantic relationship with Hunter after Beau Biden’s death in 2015, tested that from the time Hunter returned to Delaware after a trip to California in 2018 until she threw his gun, she didn’t see him using drugs. This period included the day he purchased the gun.

Much of his testimony focused on the month of October. 23, 2018 – 11 days after she bought the gun and threw it away. Hunter stayed with her and seemed exhausted. When asked by the prosecutor if it appeared Hunter was using drugs at that time, she replied, “He could have been.”

While Hunter was sleeping at home, Hallie Biden went to check on her car. She said she hoped to help him get or stay sober, free of alcohol and cocaine. She said she found remains of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia. She also found the gun Hunter purchased in a box with a broken lock that prevented it from closing all the way. There was also ammunition.

Hallie said she considered hiding the gun, but thought her children might find it, so she decided to throw it away.

“I realize it was a stupid idea now, but I was panicked,” she said.

Hunter Biden looked on expressionlessly from the courtroom during his testimony. She told the juniors that she found a crack at her home and saw him using it. She was with him from time to time when he saw drug dealers. Prosecutor Leo Wise questioned Hallie about her own trip to California in 2018, where she visited Hunter at the Roosevelt Hotel, and asked if she also used drugs.

“Yes, I was,” she said.

“And who introduced him to you?”

“Hunter did it,” Hallie said as Hunter put his face on his hand and looked down.

“It’s a terrible experience that I went through, I’m ashamed, I’m ashamed and I regret this period of my life,” she added.

Hallie tested positive, she stopped using drugs in August 2018, but Hunter continued to smoke crack.

Much of the prosecution’s case was devoted to emphasizing the severity of his crack addiction and presenting jurors with shirtless moments with ex-girlfriends, infidelity and crack pipes – mistakes of judgment which, according to them, proves that he was actively using it when he checked “no” on the form. Prosecutors say the evidence is needed to demonstrate his state of mind at the time he purchased the gun.

After Hallie Biden threw the gun in the trash at Janssen Market, he noticed it was missing and asked her if she had taken it.

“Are you crazy?” he texted. He told her to go back to the market to get it.

Surveillance footage played for jurors showed her rummaging through the trash looking for the gun, but it wasn’t there. She asked store managers if anyone had taken out the trash.

Hallie said Hunter told her to file a police report because the gun was registered in his name. She called the police while still at the store.

The Democratic president’s son arrived in court Thursday with a copy of his memoir, “Beautiful Things,” under his arm. The book, written after he got sober in 2021, looms large in prosecutors’ case: They played audio excerpts for jurors in which he details his descent into drugs and alcohol after the death of his brother in 2015 following cancer.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell said Hunter Biden’s mindset was different when he wrote the book than when he bought the gun, when he didn’t believe he had an addiction. And he suggested that Hunter Biden might have thought he had a drinking problem at the time, but not a drug problem. Alcohol abuse does not prevent the purchase of a firearm.

Jurors also heard from the gun store clerk, who testified about how he walked Hunter Biden through a few options before choosing the $900 gun. The employee then watched the customer fill out the Firearms Transaction Statement, a document required to purchase a firearm, and saw him check “no” to the question of whether he was an “illegal or dependent user” of marijuana, stimulants, narcotics or any other controlled substance.

“Whatever he bought, he ultimately decided,” he told the juniors.

Gordon Cleveland, a former employee of StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply, said Biden was seen signing the form, which includes a warning about the consequences of submitting false information.

During his cross-examination Thursday, Lowell pointed out that some of the questions on the form are in the present tense, such as “are you an illegal user of or addicted to” drugs. He suggested that Hunter Biden did not believe he had an active drug problem.

The procedures take place after the collapse of a plea agreement That would have resolved the gun charge and a separate tax case, and spared the Biden family the spectacle of a trial so close to the 2024 election. First lady Jill Biden spent several days in court before joining President Joe Biden in France for the anniversary of the landing. The Allies are concerned about the consequences of this procedure on the presidentwho is deeply concerned for the health and lasting sobriety of his only living son.

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.

He will also face a separate trial in September for Accusations of non-payment of $1.4 million in taxes.

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.


Long reported in Washington.


Follow AP’s coverage of Hunter Biden at https://apnews.com/hub/hunter-biden.

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