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11 Jun, 2024 00:25

Hunter Biden gun case goes to jury

The jurors will decide whether the US president’s son broke the law when purchasing a firearm
Hunter Biden gun case goes to jury

A Delaware jury has begun to consider whether Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, violated federal gun law by purchasing a handgun in 2018 when he was allegedly addicted to crack cocaine.

The 12 jurors left the courtroom after an hour of deliberations without reaching a verdict on Monday. They are set to reconvene on Tuesday morning.

The high-profile trial is taking place five months before the presidential election, and less than a month after a New York jury found Republican frontrunner Donald Trump guilty of falsifying business records.

Hunter Biden, 54, faces three felony charges tied to his purchase of a Colt Cobra revolver. The prosecution alleges that he lied about his history of drug use while filling out paperwork for the item. While Biden admitted to struggling with alcohol and drug addiction in the past, his defense team insists that he did not view himself as an addict when he bought the firearm.

The jury heard details about Biden’s history with drugs, as well as testimony from his former romantic partners, and viewed his personal messages and private photos. The prosecution showed Hunter Biden’s laptop – the same one that sparked a 2020 scandal after the president’s son left it at a Delaware repair shop.

Biden’s ex-wife and two ex-girlfriends testified about his crack cocaine use and failed efforts to get clean. Hunter Biden did not take the stand. A key witness against him was Hallie Biden, widow of his late brother Beau and a short-term romantic partner. She said that she found the revolver in Hunter’s truck in October 2018, panicked and threw it into a store garbage can, where it was found later.

The prosecution presented texts allegedly indicating Biden was trying to buy drugs around the time he purchased the gun. In one of the text messages, he admits to Hallie that he was smoking crack. The defense argued that Hunter Biden did not mean what he wrote, and was simply attempting to push Hallie away.

“We ask you [to] find the law applies equally to this defendant as it would to anyone else,” prosecutor Derek Hines asked of the jury in the closing arguments. “When he chose to lie and buy a gun he violated the law. We ask you return the only verdict supported by the evidence – guilty,” Hines said.

Biden’s defense team argued that they had proven their case “seven ways to Sunday,” slamming the prosecution’s evidence as “ugly.”

The prosecutors attempted to secure a plea deal with Biden in 2023, but it fell apart after being criticized by the judge.

Republican politicians and conservative public figures have repeatedly brought up Biden’s addictions and troubled personal life in an attempt to tarnish his father’s re-election campaign. They have accused the younger Biden of corruption and influence-peddling on his father’s behalf.

The president has publicly defended his son. “As the president, I don’t and won’t comment on pending federal cases, but as a dad, I have boundless love for my son, confidence in him, and respect for his strength,” Joe Biden said in a statement this month.