Hunter Biden’s ex-wife Kathleen Buhle takes the stand in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden‘s ex-wife Kathleen Buhle took the stand Wednesday in his federal gun trial after his attorney sought to cast doubt on the authenticity of personal messages allegedly from his personal devices. 

Buhle, who was married to Hunter Biden for 20 years and shares three daughters with him, is one of three women romantically linked to Hunter Biden who are expected to testify. The other two are Zoe Kestan, who was involved with Hunter Biden around 2017-2018, and Hallie Biden. Hallie Biden, the widow of Hunter Biden’s brother Beau, was involved with Hunter and found and discarded the gun at the center of the case.

Questioning of Buhle was short, with Kestan expected to testify next. Buhle testified about Hunter Biden’s drug use, saying she found a “crack pipe” in 2015 and Hunter Biden confirmed to her that he used drugs. She described regularly searching his car for drugs to avoid drugs being inside when their teenage children were driving. She also said she tried to get him to go to rehab near the end of their marriage but he initially refused although he eventually complied.

Hunter Biden has been charged with three felonies stemming from his purchase of a revolver in October 2018. He is accused of making false statements on a federal gun form about his drug use, certifying he was not a user of or addicted to any controlled substance during a period when prosecutors allege he was addicted to crack cocaine. He was in possession of the gun for 11 days before Hallie Biden discarded the weapon. 

Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Opening Statements Begin In Hunter Biden Gun Trial
Kathleen Buhle (C), ex-wife of Hunter Biden, departs from the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on June 04, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware.  Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden was again in the courtroom on Wednesday morning, although she departed before Buhle took the stand. Close friends of the Biden family huddled in a brief moment of prayer in the courtroom before proceedings began. 

President Biden is not attending the trial — he is currently in France for events commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. 

FBI agent testimony 

Prosecutors first called FBI special agent Erika Jensen, who was called to verify personal messages on Hunter Biden’s devices.

During cross-examination, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Lowell, pressed Jensen on whether she could verify the contents of the laptop admitted into evidence were not tampered with before law enforcement collected it from the Mac repair shop, which Jensen could not verify. 

Lowell pointed to the content of Biden’s text messages around the time of the gun purchase, noting that those, specifically, did not reference drugs. In his opening statement, Lowell sought to show that drug addicts often don’t consider themselves addicts.

“In jury selection, you were asked about whether you or members of your family may have had any issues with drug abuse,” Lowell said in his opening statement. “If you have or even if not, the evidence will show you that like so many people, including Hunter, until their problems, are in a deep state of denial about their use.”

On Tuesday, Jensen testified about the laptop that Hunter Biden left behind at a Delaware repair shop and never retrieved. She said the laptop contained “evidence of addiction.” 

She read aloud Hunter Biden’s text messages that used coded language such as “baby powder” and “chore boy” to conceal his crack cocaine use as he appeared to be arranging to buy drugs in the months leading up to the gun purchase. 

The day after the gun purchase, she testified, Hunter Biden sent a message to Hallie Biden about “waiting for a dealer named Mookie.” The next day, he sent another to her that said, “I was sleeping on a car smoking crack on 4th Street and Rodney.” 

Jensen also testified that bank statements showed Hunter Biden withdrawing more than $151,000 in cash between September 2018 and November 2018. He made cash withdrawals on all but four days in October, the month he purchased the gun. He withdrew $5,000 on Oct. 12, 2018, the day he bought the gun. 

Hunter Biden’s voice recordings

Prosecutors played audio recordings of Hunter Biden reading his memoir, “Beautiful Things” in which he detailed his drug use around the same time as the gun purchase. In one of the recordings, Hunter Biden said “I used my superpower, finding crack anytime, anywhere, less than a day after landing at LAX in the spring of 2018.”

During this reading of the audio recordings, Hunter Biden’s family reacted emotionally, including first lady Jill Biden. As they played the recordings, some of the jurors grimaced while Ashley Biden and Jill Biden reacted emotionally, with Melissa Cohen Biden offering support to the first lady and the first lady putting her arm around Ashley Biden’s shoulder. Ashley Biden eventually left the courtroom.

Hunter Biden Gun Trial Continues In Delaware
Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, joined by his his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, arrive to the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on June 05, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware.  Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Charges against Hunter Biden

In the three-count indictment, the president’s son is charged with making false statements on a federal gun form about his drug use, certifying he was not a user of or addicted to any controlled substance during a period when prosecutors allege he was addicted to crack cocaine. Hunter Biden purchased a Colt Cobra .38 Special revolver, and it remained in his possession for 11 days before it was discarded in an outdoor receptacle by Hallie Biden, his romantic partner at the time. 

The president’s son faces up to 25 years in prison and $750,000 in fines if convicted on all counts.

Separately, he faces nine federal tax charges in the central district of California in a second indictment brought by Weiss’ office where federal prosecutors allege Hunter Biden engaged in a “four-year scheme” to avoid paying at least $1.4 million in federal taxes. References to the tax charges are not admissible in his gun trial in Delaware. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

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