Hunter Biden’s Daughter Naomi Testifies on His Behalf in Gun Trial

Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi tested Friday that her father was sober and “hopeful” in mid-2018, just before claiming not to use drugs on a gun application — but that claim was quickly contradicted by her own anguished texts saying he had driven her to the breaking point.

MS. Biden, 30, a Washington lawyer, spoke in hopes of supporting Mr. Biden’s claim that he was working hard to kick his addiction to crack and alcohol. She said it was “the clearest” she had seen him in years when she visited Los Angeles in August 2018.

But after intense cross-examination, his claims appeared to fall apart. Prosecutors read aloud her texts beginning in mid-October, when Mr. Biden traveled to New York, where Ms. Biden was living with her boyfriend and starting her second year of law school.

The exchanges painted a very different picture of his behavior. Mr. Biden ignored Mrs. Biden sent desperate text messages for hours and made a bizarre request when he resurfaced, at one point asking her boyfriend to drop off the keys to a borrowed truck at 2 a.m. in the morning in Midtown Manhattan before disappearing again.

“I’m sorry Dad, I can’t stand this, I don’t know what to say,” she wrote to him in October. 18 – at a time when he was buying crack and partying with a girlfriend, according to previous evidence presented by the government.

“I miss you and want to spend time with you,” Ms. Biden wrote, adding an unhappy face emoji.

Her father appeared to be fighting through tears as she spoke.

MS. Biden was subdued when her texts, which were not shown to the jury, were read back to her. She said she “didn’t remember” sending them when asked to explain her state of mind. After stepping aside, she walked directly to her father at the defense table and hugged him for about a minute, before they left the courtroom together.

MS. Biden, with her hair pulled back into a tight bun, said she was nervous and coughed repeatedly, speaking in a calm, tense monotone. His dramatic appearance capped an extraordinary and exhausting first week of the trial of his father, wrongly accused of being sober during a request to purchase a handgun in October 2017. 12 in Delaware.

His lawyers offered a spirited, if narrow, defense focused on whether Mr. Biden was in fact using drugs at the time he filled out the form. It remains to be seen whether Ms. Biden’s emotional testimony, intended to help her father’s case, had a positive impact on the jury.

The trial is a stark reminder of a painful drama that has played out in the Biden family for years, underscored by the presence of Mr. Biden’s friends and family in the courtroom every day. First lady Jill Biden returned from France on Thursday to return to the courtroom on Friday.

Mr. Biden is charged with three crimes: lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false statement on the federal firearms application, and possessing an illegally obtained weapon. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison and a $750,000 fine. But nonviolent first-time offenders who have not been charged with using the weapon in another crime rarely receive long prison sentences for those charges.

The defense has said it will seek to demonstrate that Mr. Biden was not using drugs at the time he asked to buy a gun, pointing to the lack of evidence in testimony, text message exchanges and lack of evidence by Mr. Biden’s memoir. Already during some of his cross-examinations, one of Mr. Biden’s lawyers, Father Lowell, has attempted to poke holes in the prosecution’s stated timeline regarding Mr. Biden’s pattern of drug use. Biden in the months before and after purchasing the weapon.

The defense argues that the question is phrased in the present tense and that the government cannot prove that Mr. Biden was using crack on the day he acquired the gun, in October. 12, 2018.

The judge presiding over the trial, Maryellen Noreika, said she wants the trial to move forward quickly. She has already ruled that Mr. Biden’s lawyers cannot rely on the fact that local authorities decided not to pursue him when the gun was recovered.

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