What to remember from Hunter Biden’s gun trial: Family, exes and more

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) – Photos of President Joe Biden’s son with drug paraphernalia and shirtless in a bubble bath. Text messages between Hunter Biden and drug traffickers. Testimony from Hunter’s exes about relationships destroyed by his drug use.

Hunter Biden on gun trial brought by his father’s Justice Department exposed sordid and embarrassing details about the president’s son, while first lady Jill Biden watches from the courtroom in Wilmington, Delaware.

Prosecutors Friday their case remained accusing Hunter Biden of lying when he swore he was not a drug user on a federal form to buy a gun in October 2018. The defense could call at least one additional witness when the trial resumes Monday before the lawyers present their closing arguments.

Biden Hunter has pleaded not guilty and accused the Justice Department of bowing to political pressure from former President Donald Trump and other Republicans to bring the case and separate tax charges after a deal with prosecutors collapsed last year. Biden Hunter said he has been sober since 2019.

Here are some key takeaways from the first week of the trial:


Jill Biden has attended proceedings at the federal courthouse almost every day since the trial began on June 3. She missed Thursday’s testimony because she was in France to attend it. D-Day Anniversary Events with the president. She returned to court Friday.

She sat quietly in the front row of the courtroom behind Hunter Biden and listened attentively without showing any emotion as prosecutors did. painted it as deceptive and driven by addiction. During breaks in testimony, Jill Biden occasionally spoke briefly with Hunter, leaning over a railing in the courtroom to hug him and kiss him on the cheek.

Other family members who showed up throughout the week to show their support included Hunter Biden’s sister Ashley, Valerie Biden, the president’s sister, and Bonny Jacobs, Jill Biden’s sister.


Hunter Biden has not taken the witness stand and it is unclear whether he will. Jurors have already heard his own words about the depths of his drug and alcohol addiction after his Brother Beau died in 2015.

Hunter Biden’s memoir is a central part of the prosecution’s case. “Pretty Things,” in which the president’s son opened up about his crack addiction, stints in rehab and struggles to get sober.

Jurors heard at length from Hunter Biden searching for crack cocaine in different locations and learning how to smoke it. In a lengthy clip played in the courtroom, he described driving to a treatment center and seeing a huge barn owl, which may have been a hallucination, swooping down on his windshield.

In another clip played in court, Hunter Biden described at one point accidentally leaving his wallet, which contained his late brother’s Delaware attorney general badge and a Secret Service business card, in a rental car. A car rental employee discovered this, along with accessories and white powder residue on the armrest. A manager called the police, who called the Secret Service, who called Joe Biden, Hunter wrote.

No charges have been filed in this regard. In his book, Hunter Biden wrote: “Despite speculation to the contrary in right-wing media, the cops were ill-equipped to drop the case. »


Hunter Biden ex-wife and two other former romantic partnersincluding his brother’s widow, took the witness stand for prosecutors to detail their knowledge of his drug use.

His ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, said she learned her husband was using drugs when she found a pipe used for smoking crack in an ashtray on their porch in July 2015, a day after their anniversary.

Beau’s widow, Hallie, described starting to use drugs herself during her short and troubled romantic relationship with Hunter Biden, telling jurors: “I regret that period of my life. » Hallie Biden testified that she found the remains of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia in her car, as well as the gun at the center of the case.

“I panicked and wanted to get rid of it,” she said of the gun and ammunition she found.

“Why did you panic?” » asked the prosecutor.

“Because I didn’t want him to get hurt, and I didn’t want my kids to find out and get hurt,” Hallie Biden responded. She put the gun in a bag and threw it in the trash can at a nearby grocery store. A man collecting recyclables found it and eventually turned it over to police.

A third woman, Zoe Kestan, told the juniors about meeting Hunter in December 2017 at a New York strip club where she worked. She counted Hunter Biden smoking crack perhaps every 20 minutes when she stayed with him in a hotel.

Kestan acknowledged that she had no contact with him in October 2018, during which time he purchased the gun. But she told juniors that Hunter Biden was using drugs the following month. Prosecutors also showed jurors several highly personal photos taken on her phone of Hunter Biden sleeping, in a bubble bath and, in some, undressed or censored with a black box.


The defense argued in a court filing Friday that prosecutors failed to present evidence that Hunter Biden was actually using drugs during the 11 days he had the gun.

“It was only after the gun was thrown away and the stress that followed…that the government was able to find the same type of evidence of its consumption (e.g., photos, use of jargon drug-related) that led to a drug relapse,” defense attorney Abbe Lowell wrote.

Throughout the trial, the defense attempted to sow doubt on the memory of prosecution witnesses, by emphasizing their recollection of events.

Lowell cited other possible reasons for large cash withdrawals to counter the implication that his client was using the money for drugs. Lowell asked investigators whether Hunter Biden could have obtained money to pay for his children’s college tuition, housing or child support, pointing out that authorities did not conduct a forensic financial examination to find the money.

On Friday, the defense called to the witness stand Naomi Biden, Hunter Biden’s daughter, who testified about how she visited her father while he was in a rehabilitation center in August 2018, months before purchasing the gun, and told him she was proud of him. The testimony detailing a lunch with her boyfriend, his father and her sober living partner seemed designed to show that Hunter Biden had turned a corner with his addiction during this period.

But prosecutors quickly pressed Naomi Biden on the details she witnessed about her addiction and her father’s behavior when she saw him briefly in October after his gun purchase. Prosecutors read highly personal texts between the father and daughter, including a plea she made to see him and her response that he was unfair, leaving them both emotional as she left the witness stand .

The defense previously said it planned to call as a witness Joe Biden’s brother, James. On Friday, Hunter’s lawyer did not rule out the possibility of calling an additional witness, but it was clear who it was. Testimony from other family members could open the door for more personal messages to present to the jury.


Richer reported from Washington.

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