What to remember from day four of Hunter Biden’s gun trial, as his brother’s widow testifies

Wilmington, Delaware

The prosecution’s most important witness against Hunter Biden, his sister-in-law-turned-girlfriend Hallie Biden, testified Thursday that she believed he was using drugs when she saw him in October 2018, the month where he claimed during a federal background check that he was clean.

Jurors sat forward in their seats while she was on the witness stand. Some, who rarely took notes, jotted it down on their notepads as she provided critical testimony that filled in some lingering gaps about when Biden purchased the gun.

Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, is charged with three felonies, stemming from prosecutors’ contention that he was using or addicted to drugs when he bought a gun in October 2018. He has pleaded not guilty. He has spoken openly about his crack addiction for years, and a previously tested key witness confirmed she saw him smoking the drug in September and November 2018.

Before the trial ended, special counsel David Weiss’ team announced that it planned to rest its case on Friday, after presenting testimony from two experts from the FBI and DEA. That puts the case on track to potentially go before the jury early next week, Hunter Biden’s lead attorney said.

Biden’s defense team plans to call his daughter, Naomi Biden, and uncle, James Biden, to testify as they begin presenting their case Friday, people briefed on their plans said. Biden’s lead attorney, Abbe Lowell, suggested jurors might hear from them during his opening statement.

Naomi Biden’s testimony is expected to bolster defense efforts to blunt the impact of Hallie Biden’s testimony. James Biden’s testimony is intended to help jurors hear about Hunter Biden’s efforts during a key period in 2018 to seek drug treatment, part of which was paid for by his uncle – the president’s brother.

Here’s what you need to know from the fourth day of the trial in Wilmington, Delaware:

In many ways, Hallie Biden, Beau Biden’s widow who was then dating his brother Hunter, was set to be the special prosecutor’s star witness. She is the only person expected to testify who saw Biden in October 2018, when he returned to Delaware and purchased the .38-caliber Colt Cobra revolver.

She testified that she believed – based on her observations and behavior – that Biden was using crack cocaine around October 22 and 23, a few days after purchasing the gun.

However, under cross-examination, she acknowledged that she had not personally seen Biden use drugs in October, a point the defense team focused on – trying to rule out October and create reasonable doubt.

She also said she hadn’t seen much of Biden in October. Jurors saw messages between the two in which she tried to reach him and wondered if he was seeing other women. In one message from that time, she asked: “Are you in New York with Zoe?” Referring to Zoe Kestan, who was romantically involved with Biden around the same time and testified about his widespread drug addiction.

Lowell challenged Hallie Biden several times during her extensive cross-examination.

Hallie Biden ‘panicked’ and threw her gun away

Hallie Biden described how events spiraled out of control after she found Biden’s gun on October 23, “freaked out” and went to a grocery store to throw the gun in a trash can.

“I freaked out and wanted to get rid of it…because I didn’t want him to get hurt or my kids to find him and get hurt, and I just freaked out and wanted to get rid of him. “, she tested.

She then went to Janssen’s Market, a grocery store just a few minutes away, and threw it in a trash can. Hunter Biden soon discovered his gun was missing and things took a turn for the worse, according to text messages presented to the jury. He was very angry, she tested.

“It’s hard to believe someone is that stupid,” he texted her in the middle of the crisis, according to messages presented by prosecutors.

She then replied, “You can blame me all you want. » I know it was stupid, but your role is dangerous and careless. And because of that and my stupidity for worrying about you, I’m in the grip of madness and maybe I’m the one who’s going to get in trouble.

During cross-examination, Hallie Biden repeatedly said she did not remember details of the day, including the phone calls between her and Hunter Biden or when she found the gun in his truck and where she had gone that day.

“There are some things you remember and a lot of things you don’t,” Lowell told him emphatically.

At the start of her testimony, Hallie Biden opened up about using drugs, saying Hunter Biden introduced her to crack cocaine in 2018.

“It’s a terrible experience that I went through, and I’m embarrassed and I’m ashamed, and I regret that time in my life,” she said.

She said she quit in August 2018.

She later said she went to rehab in Pennsylvania in early October 2018. Biden attended “counseling” with her as part of the treatment, she said. Lowell suggested that was why Hunter Biden returned to Delaware from Los Angeles – where he purchased the gun weeks later.

Delaware State Police Lt. Millard Greer then testified about the series of events that led to the recovery of Biden’s gun, after Hallie Biden reported it missing.

Through security footage and interviews, investigators learned that an elderly man who liked to rummage through trash cans for recyclables may have removed the gun from the trash can Hallie Biden placed it in. Greer said he watched the man at a Fidelity Investments storefront in the area, before later approaching him.

The man, Thomas Banner, admitted to finding something very important in the trash. They returned to his house to retrieve the gun, but Banner was locked out of his house and began “panicking,” Greer said.

They eventually went inside and Banner led Greer to the gun, which Greer said was stuffed in a sock in a General Motors lunch box. He also, to Greer’s surprise, handed over a second gun that he had kept for years and that had been given to him by a co-worker who had to get rid of it to protect his brother.

Banner, 80, then took the stand, and Lowell and prosecutor Derek Hines stood inches from him during questioning, speaking in slow, clear words because he was hard of hearing.

He described how even at GM, where he worked for more than 30 years, he collected aluminum cans and recyclables from trash cans. Banner said he would drive them to New York to exchange them for cash, pointing out that he used to get a nickel per can, but now he could only get more than 75 cents for a book.

The retiree also identified a brown pouch he found with the gun. Prosecutors say FBI investigators found a white powder that tested positive for cocaine on the baggie, years after it was discovered.

Hines asked the 80-year-old man if anyone in his home used cocaine.

“No,” Banner said.

CNN’s Macayla Cook, Evan Perez, Kit Maher and Paula Reid contributed to this report.

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