Hunter Biden’s gun case goes to the jury

Jurors began deliberations in the federal gun trial of Hunter Biden, the president’s son who has been charged with three felonies stemming from his purchase of a revolver in Oct. 2018. 

His lawyers did not call Hunter Biden to the stand after saying on Friday they were deciding if they would call him to testify.

The defense rested its Monday morning after FBI special agent Erika Jensen was called back to the stand to review text messages that were introduced last week. During this, the defense focused that location data allegedly is not definitive and there were gaps when there was no data available, and also pressed other alleged holes in the narrative of Hunter Biden’s actions at that time. 

Hunter Biden’s attorneys had called several witnesses on Friday, including his daughter Naomi Biden, but took the weekend to decide whether to call him to testify in his own defense.

Late Monday morning, the judge gave the jury instructions. The prosecution’s closing argument lasted an hour shortly after noon before the defense started their argument.

The Biden family continued their support of Hunter Biden in court on Monday, with first lady Jill Biden, her daughter Ashley Biden, the first lady’s sister, the presidents siblings Valerie and Jimmy Biden and Hunter Biden’s wife Melissa Cohen Biden all sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in the first row. President Biden has not attended the trial but he was in Wilmington on Monday morning.

Hunter Biden Gun Trial Continues In Delaware
Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, joined by his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, arrive to the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on June 10, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware.  Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Hunter Biden is charged with three felonies stemming from his purchase of a revolver in October 2018. Two of the charges are related to accusations that he made 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. 

The other charge is for allegedly owning the gun unlawfully, possessing the weapon for 11 days before Hallie Biden found and discarded it. Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

The prosecution’s case last week included testimony from Hunter Biden’s ex-wife Kathleen Buhle, his ex-girlfriend Zoe Kestan and Hallie Biden, the widow of his brother Beau Biden and with whom Hunter Biden was also romantically involved after his brother’s death in 2015. The man who allegedly sold Hunter Biden the gun, Gordon Cleveland, also testified. 

Hallie Biden, considered to be the prosecution’s star witness, testified last week that she “panicked” when she found the weapon, and she “just wanted to get rid” of the gun and bullets. 

“I didn’t want him to hurt himself or the kids to find it and hurt themselves,” she said, adding that she considered hiding the gun but she was “afraid one of my children would find it.”

Hallie Biden said Hunter had introduced her to crack cocaine after her husband’s death. “It was a terrible experience that I went through and I’m embarrassed and ashamed, and I regret that period of my life,” she testified. 

At the heart of the prosecution’s case is whether Hunter Biden knowingly lied about using drugs. Prosecutor Derek Hines in his opening statement noted that “addiction may not be a choice, but lying and buying a gun is a choice.” 

Hunter Biden Gun Trial Continues In Delaware
Hallie Biden departs from the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building after testifying in the trial of Hunter Biden on June 06, 2024, in Wilmington, Delaware. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Cleveland testified that Hunter Biden did not seem confused by the form when he sold him the firearm in Oct. 2018. 

Hallie Biden testified that Hunter Biden was using drugs in Oct. 2018, when he bought the gun, and prosecutors showed texts that said he was “sleeping on car smoking crack.” But Naomi Biden testified that her father “seemed great” at the end of Oct. 2018 and she did not spot any drug paraphernalia when she borrowed his truck. 

While Hunter Biden’s history of drug addiction is well known — he wrote about it in his memoir, “Beautiful Things” — Hunter Biden’s attorney Lowell has sought to raise questions about whether he knowingly omitted the information from the disclosure form. In his opening statement, Lowell said that many addicts are in “denial” about their drug use, and he also argued that Hunter Biden did not consider himself to be an addict when he purchased the gun.

Naomi Biden testified that she knew her father “was struggling with addiction,” saying “after my Uncle (Beau Biden) died, things got bad.” But she said he never used illegal drugs in front of her, and she acknowledged she had never observed what her father looked like when he was using drugs. 

While President Biden has not been at the trial, other members of the Biden family have been in attendance. First lady Jill Biden has been almost every day, except when she was in France with President Biden to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Ashley Biden, the Bidens’ daughter and Hunter Biden’s half-sister, has also been in court, although she became emotional and left one day.

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