Hunter Biden Gun Trial: Prosecution Ends

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Federal prosecutors aimed to conclude their gun case against Hunter Biden Friday with two final witnesses in an effort to prove the president’s son lied on a mandatory gun purchase form when he said he was not an “illegal user or addict” of drugs .

Prosecutors planned to call a drug expert and an FBI chemist, capping a week largely spent highlighting the severity of his drug problem through highly personal testimony.

Jurors heard from his ex-wife and a former girlfriend who testified about his habitual crack use and their unsuccessful efforts to help him abstain. They saw images of the president’s son shirtless and disheveled in a dirty room, and half-naked holding crack pipes. And they watched a video of his crack being weighed on a scale.

The prosecutor says the evidence is needed to prove that Hunter, 54, was in the throes of an addiction when he purchased the gun and therefore lied when he checked “no” on the form. His attorney, Father Lowell, argued that Hunter did not consider himself a “drug addict” when he purchased the gun and did not intend to deceive anyone.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden worked to cross the line between president and father, telling ABC in an interview that he would accept the jury’s verdict and exclude a pardon for his son. Earlier this week, he released a statement saying, “I’m the president, but I’m also a dad. Jill and I love our son and are very proud of the man he is today.

Biden is in France this week to D-Day anniversary events. First lady Jill Biden, who attended court most of the week, left France on Thursday to attend the trial again on Friday before returning to France for a state dinner.

Hunter Biden has been 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.

He pleaded not guilty. He had hoped to resolve the gun case and another separate California tax case with a plea deal last year, the result of a several-year investigation into his business relationships. The deal resulted in him pleading guilty to lower-level charges that would have resolved both cases and spared him the spectacle of a trial so close to the 2024 election. The deal collapsed after Judge Maryellen Noreika questioned unusual aspects of the proposed deal that lawyers could not resolve.

Hunter Biden said he was charged because the Justice Department bowed to pressure from Republicans who said the Democratic president’s son was getting special treatment and who stepped up their attacks on the criminal justice system. Since the recent conviction of Donald Trump in New York in a secret money affair.

Lowell said he would call the president brother Jacques as witness, but it is still clear whether Hunter Biden will testify.

But the jurors have already heard his voice. Prosecutors played lengthy audio clips in his court 2021 memoir “Beautiful Things,” in which he writes about his lifelong addiction issues and his spiraling descent after the death of his brother Beau in 2015. The book, written after he got sober, covers the period when he had the gun but didn’t not specifically mentioned.

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. He emphasized to jurors that some of the questions on the gun transaction record are in the present tense, such as “are you an illegal user of or addicted to” drugs.

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.

The reason law enforcement raised questions about the gun is because Hallie Biden, Beau’s widow, found it unloaded in Hunter’s truck on October 1. On December 23, 2018, he panicked and threw it into a trash can at a nearby market. She was tested and confirmed on Thursday’s episode.

She told jurors 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. “I didn’t want him to get hurt, and I didn’t want my kids to find out and get hurt.”

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

But much of his testimony focused on the month of October. 23, 2018 – 11 days after purchase. Hunter stayed with her and seemed exhausted. Asked by the prosecutor if it appeared Hunter was using drugs at the 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.

She put on a leather pouch, put the pouch in a bag and threw it into the trash can 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 tested Hunter and told her to file a police report because the gun was registered in her name. She called the police while still at the store.

Officers located the man who had inadvertently taken the gun and other recyclable materials from the trash and recovered it. The case was ultimately dismissed due to lack of cooperation from Hunter Biden, who was considered the victim.

Jurors also heard from the officers who handled the case, the man who found the gun and the store clerk who sold Hunter the gun.

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 title of this article has been corrected to show that the prosecution, not the defense, has 2 additional witnesses.


Long reported in Washington.


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