Naomi Biden testifies for her father Hunter as gun trial nears end

WILMINGTON, Del. — Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi was supposed to be a sympathetic witness who would humanize her father and show that he did not appear to be abusing drugs when she saw him one day in October 2018.

At first, this strategy seemed to work since the 30-year-old answered questions from Father Lowell, Hunter Biden’s lawyer. But when prosecutors cross-examined Naomi Biden, they introduced a series of text messages between her and her father that cast doubt on whether he was still using drugs during a critical period in which he had purchased and possessed a firearm in mid-October.

Biden’s lawyers hope jurors will take a nuanced view of drug abuse and addiction when they begin deliberations — which could take place as soon as Monday or Tuesday — and consider that the president’s son could have been sober at the time where prosecutors say he lied on a gun purchase form saying he wasn’t addicted to or using illegal narcotics.

Prosecutors offered text messages, the audio version of Hunter Biden’s memoir about his battles with addiction, bank statements and more to try to prove he was addicted to the drug in October 2018 and knowingly lied on firearm form about his drug use. The testimony delved into the Biden family’s struggles to help Hunter battle his drug addiction following the death of his brother Beau in 2015, and the jury selection process showed how common those struggles are throughout the Delaware.

A conviction would pose a potential political burden for the first family as President Biden seeks a second term in the White House, with Republicans — including presumptive nominee Donald Trump — seeking to tie the president to a slew of allegations they made against his son.

Prosecutors do not have a drug test or photographic evidence showing the younger Biden was using and addicted to drugs when he bought the gun and during the 11 days it was in his possession. However, they have a text sent at the time by Hunter Biden in which he said he smoked crack.

Naomi Biden’s voice was shaky and hushed as she answered questions from prosecutors, who aimed to portraying Hunter Biden as an absentee father who texted his daughter in the middle of the night and couldn’t find time to meet with her even though she desperately wanted to see him.

“I’m so sorry Dad. “I can’t stand this,” Naomi Biden texted in October. 18, while they were both in New York, according to prosecutors. “I don’t know what to say, I miss you so much,” she texted. “I just want to spend time with you.”

“I’m sorry I was so unreachable,” Hunter Biden responded. “It’s not fair to you.”

Naomi Biden’s questioning clearly took a toll on first lady Jill Biden and other members of the Biden family, sitting in the front row, steely-eyed. At one point, Lowell interrupted the cross-examination to provide a bottle of water to his client’s daughter.

After leaving the witness stand, Naomi Biden walked across the room and her father rose from the defense table to give her a hug. She continued to walk out of the courtroom, wiping one eye.

Hunter Biden faces three criminal charges related to the gun he purchased in October 2018. Two of the charges allege he lied on required paperwork when he claimed he was not addicted to illegal drugs, and the third charge alleges he illegally possessed the weapon. for 11 days as a drug user.

He is not accused of committing a crime with the gun, and his attorney said he never loaded or used it.

The prosecution completed its case Friday morning, calling a total of 10 witnesses over the course of the week. With each witness — including his ex-wife and two other former romantic partners — prosecutors aimed to prove to the jury that Biden was a drug addict before, during and after purchasing the gun.

The defense said he had just finished rehab and, although he had relapsed, he was not using crack cocaine at the time he purchased the gun.

Lowell called as first witnesses Friday the owner of the gun store where Biden purchased the gun and the employee who conducted the required background check. Both witnesses suggested that the store failed to properly fill out every item on the form when selling Biden the gun and ammunition, which the defense hopes will cause the jury to question the entire form.

But none of the witnesses provided any insight into whether Biden knowingly lied about his drug use.

After extensive cross-examination of Naomi Biden, defense lawyers said they no longer plan to call Jimmy Biden, Hunter Biden’s uncle, who paid for him to go to treatment detox in California in August 2018 – about two months before the gun. was bought.

Lowell said Hunter Biden and his legal team will decide over the weekend whether Biden will take the stand in his own defense.

It’s a risky move, and few criminal defendants testify at their trials. Hunter Biden is open to the possibility, however, according to people familiar with private conversations on the subject who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it. People said Biden had gained confidence from his recent appearances before Congress.

Prosecutors spent most of their presentation to the jury showing that Hunter Biden was addicted to crack cocaine for years, smoking as often as every 20 minutes. Between Tuesday and Friday, they showed the jury photos of Biden with drug paraphernalia and photos he took and texted to other drugs. There were also text messages between him and his alleged dealers.

But in the critical period of October. Oct. 12 to Dec. 23, 2018, when he purchased and possessed the gun, there were no text messages with his dealers or photos of crack cocaine. That’s why Hallie Biden, who appeared on the stand Thursday, was such a critical witness. The widow of Hunter Biden’s older brother Beau, Hallie was romantically involved with Hunter Biden from around 2016 to 2019.

Prosecutors demonstrated this in October. On December 14, 2018 – two days after Hunter Biden purchased the gun – he texted Hallie Biden after she frantically tried to reach him: “I was sleeping on a car smoking crack on the 4th Street and Rodney,” the post said.

She testified that Hunter Biden also visited her Wilmington home in October. 23 years old, showing up exhausted and looking like he had taken crack.

She said she searched his car while he slept and found “remnants of crack cocaine,” drug paraphernalia and the gun Biden had purchased 11 days earlier. She testified that she placed the gun in a pouch that Hunter Biden sometimes used, drove to a nearby upscale grocery store and threw it in an outdoor trash can.

On cross-examination, Lowell attempted to show the jury that Hallie Biden did not actually observe Hunter Biden’s crack during this period and that she could not say for sure whether he was using drugs. Lowell also said Hunter Biden only sent the damning message by claiming to have smoked crack on Rodney Street because he didn’t want to see her — not because he was actually on drugs.

The prosecution’s final witness before resting its case Friday morning was Joshua Romig, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. He was not involved in the investigation, but prosecutors called him to translate to the jury the numerous instances of drug slang Hunter Biden used in his text messages.

During cross-examination, Lowell asked Romig if it would be fair to say that Hunter Biden’s text messages did not include references to drugs or photos of crack cocaine and paraphernalia between August 2018 and November 2018.

Romig seemed to say yes, but with one big caveat:

“Except for the October text we talked about where he said he smoked crack.”

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