Hunter Biden Gun Trial Opening: Prosecutors Cast President’s Son as ‘Drug Addict’ 

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors painted Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, as a “drug addict” whose dark habits ensnared his loved ones and who was aware of what he was doing when he lied on federal gun purchase forms to purchase a gun in 2018 by saying he wasn’t in the grasp of addiction. 

In the meantime, Hunter Biden’s lawyer said he would call the president’s brother James Biden as a witness. Hunter and James are close, and the uncle helped his nephew through past rehab stints.

“You will see that the is not guilty,” said attorney Abbe Lowell.

Hunter Biden has been charged with three felonies that stem from the purchase when according to his memoir, he was addicted to crack. He has been accused of lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false claim on the application by stating he wasn’t a drug user, and illegally having the gun for 11 days. 

Prosecutors informed the jury in their opening statement that Hunter Biden was attempting to score drugs only days after he lied on the form and told his brother’s widow in a message that he was awaiting a drug dealer. 

They also played an audio excerpt of Hunter’s 2021 memoir “Beautiful Things,” for jurors in which he spoke about going back to Delaware about the time of the gun purchase. 

“No one is allowed to lie on a federal form like that, even Hunter Biden,” said Derek Hines, federal prosecutor. “He crossed the line when he chose to buy a gun and lied about a federal background check…the defendant’s choice to buy a gun is why we are here.”

“When the defendant filled out that form, he knew he was a drug addict,” and Hines said prosecutors don’t have to prove he was using that day.

“Addiction is depressing,” Hines added, but Hunter Biden’s addiction is not the reason behind the case.

Proceedings have come following the collapse of a deal with prosecutors who would have avoided the trial spectacle so close to the November 2024 election. Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty and argued he is unfairly being targeted by the U.S. Justice Department after the GOP decried his now-defunct plea deal as special treatment for the president’s son.

Jill Biden, first lady, and Hunter Biden’s sister Ashley Biden, who attended the court session Monday, joined him in the courtroom again as opening statements start. Exes of the president’s son are also expected to testify on personal and embarrassing details about addiction.

Lowell explained the form asks whether you “are” a drug user. “It does not say ‘have you ever been,’” and he suggested Hunter didn’t think of himself as someone with a drug issue when he purchased the gun. 

His state of mind must be considered at the purchase time, not “what he wrote in a book in 2021.”

Lowell informed the jury prosecutors must prove that Hunter Biden knowingly violated the law.

Hunter Biden trial unfolds only days after Trump’s conviction

The trial continues to unfold only days after the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Donald Trump, was convicted of 34 felonies in New York City. The two criminal cases are not related, however, there proximity emphasizes how the courts have taken center stage during the 2024 presidential campaign.

Selection of the jury moved rapidly Monday in the home state of the president, where Hunter Biden grew up and where the family is deeply rooted. President Joe Biden spent 36 years as a Delaware senator and commuted daily to Washington, D.C.

People there are familiar with how Joe Biden’s two young sons, Beau and Hunter, were injured in the car accident that killed his baby girl and wife in the early 1970s. Beau Biden was also former state attorney general before his death at age 46 from cancer.

Some potential jurors were dismissed because they knew the family personally, and others because they held both negative and positive political views about the Bidens and could not possibly be impartial. But, it took only a day to find the 12-member jury and four alternates.

Hunter Biden additionally faces a trial in California in September on charges of not paying $1.4 million in taxes. Both cases were intended to have been resolved through the deal last July with prosecutors, the culmination of an investigation several years long into his business dealings.

However, Judge Maryellen Noreika, who was nominated to the bench by Donald Trump, questioned some unusual parts of the deal, which included a proposed guilty plea to misdemeanor offenses with a diversion agreement on the gun charge and a resolution to tax crimes, which meant as long has he kept out of trouble for two years the case would be dismissed.

The attorneys couldn’t come to a resolution on her questions, and the deal collapsed. Attorney General Merrick Garland then appointed David Weiss as top investigator — special counsel — in August. Weiss is a former U.S. attorney for Delaware. One month later Hunter Biden was indicted.

Opening remarks come as AG Garland faces members of the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee in Washington, which has been investigating the president and his family and whose chairman has been at the front of a halted impeachment inquiry that stemmed from Hunter Biden’s business dealings.

The trial in Delaware isn’t about the foreign business dealings of Hunter Biden, although the proceedings are likely to dig up painful memories.

Allies of the president are worried about the trial’s toll on the elder Biden, who’s long been worried about this only living son and his sobriety who must now watch as his son’s past mistakes are scrutinized publicly. The president must do so while he is campaigning with anemic poll numbers and preparing for an upcoming presidential debate with Trump.

Monday night onboard Air Force One, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked if the case might affect the ability of the president to do his job, and she answered, “Absolutely not.”

“He always puts the American people first and is capable of doing his job,” Jean-Pierre said. She declined to say if Biden received updates on the trial throughout the day or spoke to his son after the conclusion of the proceedings.

Tuesday evening, Biden was scheduled to travel to France and will be gone the remainder of the week. The first lady is set to join him later in the week.

If he is convicted, the younger Biden could face up to 25 years in prison, although first-time offenders don’t get anywhere close to the maximum penalty. It remains unclear if the judge would give him time behind bars.

Former President Trump is set to be sentenced on July 11 by Judge Juan Merchan, who raised the possibility of jail time during the trial after he racked up thousands of dollars in fines for the violation of a gag order.