Jurors in the Hunter Biden’s Gun Trial Start Deliberating Guilt on Federal Firearm Charges

The daughter of Hunter Biden, Naomi, testified Friday in his federal gun trial about paying a visit to her father while he was in a rehab center in California, telling jurors it appeared he was improving in the weeks before purchasing the revolver in 2018.

On Monday, jurors in Hunter Biden’s gun trial started deliberating to decide whether the son of the president is guilty of federal firearms charges over a revolver he purchased when prosecutors say he was struggling with an addition to crack cocaine.

Hunter Biden is charged with three felonies that stem from the purchase of the gun in 2018. Prosecutors say the younger Biden lied on a federal form by saying he wasn’t illegally addicted to or using drugs.

Since the trial started last week in Delaware’s federal court, jurors have heard emotional testimony from the former romantic partners of Biden, saw photos of him with drug paraphernalia or partially clothed, and read his text messages.

The son of the president detailed his struggle with a crack cocaine addiction before getting sober more than five years ago. However, the defense sought to show he did not consider himself an “addict” when he filled out the form.

This is the first of two trials Hunter Biden faces amid his Democrat father’s ongoing reelection campaign. The younger Biden is also facing a charge of failing to pay at least $1.4 million in taxes in a case set to go to trial in September.

Prosecutors focus on “overwhelming” evidence against Hunter Biden in closing arguments

In closing arguments Monday, the prosecution told jurors to focus on the “overwhelming” evidence against Hunter Biden and ignore members of the president’s family, including first lady Jill Biden, sitting in the courtroom.

“All of this is not evidence,” said prosecutor Leo Wise, extending his hand and directing the jury to look at the gallery. “People sitting in the gallery are not evidence.”

Abbe Lowell, defense attorney, countered that prosecutors have failed to prove their case. Additionally, he told jurors that his client’s famous last name doesn’t change the fact that he is presumed innocent—like any average defendant—until he is proven guilty.

“With my last breath in this case, I ask for the only verdict that will hold the prosecutors to what the law requires of them” — a not guilty verdict said Lowell.

The defense has attempted to show Hunter Biden didn’t consider himself an “addict” when he filled the form out. His attorneys have suggested he was trying to turn his life around at the same time as the gun purchase, having completed a rehabilitation and detoxification program at the end of August 2018.

Lowell stated there is no witness to drug use by Hunter Biden in the 11 days he had possession of the gun. He also suggested his client was lying about where he was in text messages to his brother Beau’s widow. The prosecution suggests the texts indicate drug deals and drug use in the days after the gun purchase. 

“At any given time, he would lie to her about where he was,” said Lowell.

Closing arguments came rapidly after the defense rested its case without putting Hunter Biden on the witness stand. He smiled as he chatted with his defense team and flashed a thumbs-up to one of his supporters in the gallery following the final witness — an FBI agent called by the prosecution in their rebuttal case. 

President Biden’s brother, James, the first lady, Jill Biden, and other family members sat in the front row of the Wilmington, Delaware, courtroom. At one point, Hunter Biden leaned over the railing and whispered in his mother’s ear. The first lady has sat through most of the trial, missing only one-day last week to attend the 80th anniversary of D-Day events with the president in France.

Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges that stem from the October 2018 purchase of a gun he had for around 11 days. He accused the Department of Justice of bowing to political pressure from Republicans and former President Donald Trump to bring the gun case a separate tax charge following a deal with prosecutors falling apart last year.

The case has focused a spotlight on a turbulent time in the younger Biden’s life following the death of his brother in 2015.

Two former girlfriends and his ex-wife testified for prosecutors about his habitual crack use and their failed efforts to help him get clean. One woman who met Hunter Biden at a strip club in 2017 where she worked described him smoking crack every 20 minutes or so while staying with him at a hotel.

A crucial witness for prosecutors was Beau’s widow, Hallie, who had a troubled, brief relationship with Hunter after his brother’s death from brain cancer. She found the unloaded gun in Hunter’s truck on October 23, 2018, panicked, and then tossed it into a garbage can at a Wilmington grocery store, where a man inadvertently pulled it out of the trash.

From the moment Hunter returned to Delaware from a 2018 trip to California until she tossed out his gun, she didn’t see him using drugs, said Hallie to the jurors. The period included the day he purchased the weapon. However, jurors also saw text messages Hunter sent Hallie in October 2018, saying he was waiting for a dealer and smoking crack. The first message was sent the day after he purchased the gun. The second was sent the next day.

President Joe Biden said last week that he would accept the jury’s verdict and has ruled out a presidential pardon for his son. After flying back from France, the president was at his Wilmington home for the day and was expected in Washington in the evening for a Juneteenth concert. He was set to travel to Italy for the Group of Seven leaders conference later in the week.

Last summer, it appeared as if Hunter Biden would avoid prosecution in the gun case altogether. However, a deal with prosecutors imploded after the judge Trump nominated to the bench raised concerns about it.

Hunter Biden was consequently indicted on three felony gun charges. He also faces a September trial on felony charges alleging he failed to pay at least $1.4 million over four years in taxes.

If he is convicted in the gun case, he faces up to 25 years in prison, although first-time offenders don’t receive anywhere close to the maximum, and it remains unclear whether the judge would give him time behind bars.