NATIONAL NEWS

Jurors in Hunter Biden’s gun trial begin deliberating whether he’s guilty of federal firearm charges

Jun 10, 2024, 7:56 PM | Updated: 8:00 pm

Hunter Biden arrives to federal court with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, Monday, June 10, 2024, in...

Hunter Biden arrives to federal court with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Jurors in Hunter Biden’s gun trial began deliberating Monday whether the president’s son is guilty of federal firearms charges over a revolver he bought in 2018 when prosecutors say he was addicted to crack cocaine.

Hunter Biden is charged with three felonies in the case that has laid bare some of the darkest moments of his drug-fueled past. Prosecutors have used testimony from former romantic partners, personal text messages and photos of Hunter Biden with drug paraphernalia or partially clothed to make the case that he broke the law.

“No one is above the law,” prosecutor Leo Wise told jurors in his closing argument as first lady Jill Biden watched from the front row of the Wilmington, Delaware, courtroom.

Jurors deliberated for less than an hour before leaving the courthouse for the day. Deliberations were to resume Tuesday morning.

President Joe Biden’s son has publicly detailed his struggle with a crack cocaine addiction before getting sober more than five years ago. But the defense sought to show that that he did not consider himself an “addict” when he bought the gun and checked “no” on the form that asked whether he was “an unlawful user” of drugs or addicted to them.

The case has pitted Hunter Biden against his father’s Justice Department in the midst of the Democratic president’s reelection campaign. The charges were brought by special counsel David Weiss, who was nominated by Republican former President Donald Trump to be U.S. attorney for Delaware and led the yearslong investigation.

‘Overwhelming’ evidence

Before the case went to the jury, the prosecutor urged jurors to focus on the “overwhelming” evidence against Hunter Biden and pay no mind to members of the president’s family sitting in the courtroom.

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

First lady Jill Biden and other family members left the courthouse shortly after deliberations began. The first lady sat through most of the trial, missing only one day last week to attend D-Day anniversary events with the president in France. At one point Monday, Hunter Biden leaned over a railing to whisper in Jill Biden’s ear.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell told jurors in his closing argument that prosecutors had failed to prove their case. Lowell said the his client may have a famous last name, but he is still presumed innocent until proven guilty like any other defendant.

“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 verdict of not guilty, Lowell said.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers have suggested he was trying to turn his life around at the time of the gun purchase, having completed a detoxification and rehabilitation program at the end of August 2018. The defense called three witnesses, including Hunter’s daughter Naomi, who told jurors that her father seemed be improving in the weeks before he bought the gun.

Closing arguments came shortly after the defense rested its case without calling Hunter Biden to the witness stand. He didn’t elaborate on his decision when he told U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika that he was waiving his right to testify, according to a transcript of the sidebar discussion at the bench.

Smile and a thumbs up

Hunter Biden smiled as he chatted with members of his defense team and flashed a thumbs-up sign to a supporter in the gallery after the final witness — an FBI agent called by prosecutors in their rebuttal case.

The trial has put a spotlight on a turbulent time in Hunter Biden’s life after the 2015 death of his brother, Beau, from brain cancer. The proceedings have played out in the president’s home state, where Hunter Biden grew up and where the family is deeply established. Joe Biden spent 36 years as a senator in Delaware, commuting daily to Washington, and Beau Biden was the state’s attorney general.

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

Jurors have also heard him describe at length his descent into addiction through audio excerpts played in court of his 2021 memoir, “Beautiful Things.” The book, written after he got sober, covers the period he had the gun but doesn’t mention it specifically.

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

The prosecutor pointed to text messages he said show Hunter trying to make drug deals in the days around the gun purchase. In one message, Hunter told Hallie he was smoking crack. “That’s my truth,” Hunter wrote.

‘That’s his truth’

“Take the defendant’s word for it. That’s his truth,” Wise said. He urged jurors to reject the defense’s suggestion that Hunter did not really mean what he was texting at the time and was simply trying to avoid being with Hallie.

“You don’t leave your common sense behind when you come into that jury box,” Wise said.

The defense told jurors that there was no actual witness to drug use by Hunter during the 11 days that he had the gun. Lowell also sought to discredit testimony from Hallie and another ex-girlfriend. He told jurors to consider their testimony “with great care and caution,” noting that they were given immunity agreements in exchange for taking the witness stand for prosecutors.

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

Last summer, it looked as if Hunter Biden would avoid prosecution in the gun case altogether, but a deal with prosecutors imploded after the judge, who was nominated to the bench by Trump, raised concerns about it. Hunter Biden also faces a trial scheduled for September on felony charges alleging he failed to pay at least $1.4 million in taxes over four years.

If convicted in the gun case, he faces up to 25 years in prison, though first-time offenders do not get anywhere near the maximum, and it’s unclear whether the judge would give him time behind bars.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

A tourist jumps from a rock into the blue-green water of Havasu Falls in Havasu Canyon, Arizona, Ap...

Scott Sonner and Morgan Lee, Associated Press

Dozens of hikers became ill during trips to waterfalls near the Grand Canyon

Dozens of tourists say they became ill after visiting a popular Arizona tourist destination known for its towering blue-green waterfalls.

14 minutes ago

The family said the doctors told them she may have experienced what is known as a cryptic pregnancy...

Mike Bergazzi , Jon Burkett

Unaware she was pregnant, this mom gave birth at Taco Bell: ‘A miracle, out of nowhere’

A woman was shocked when she went into labor at Taco Bell. She didn't know she was pregnant.

1 hour ago

FILE: Elected officials and representatives from U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams unveil t...

Associated Press

Possible 2026 World Cup training camps may include Salt Lake City or Herriman

Possible team training camps for the 2026 World Cup include a site in Salt Lake City among several other U.S. cities.

6 hours ago

The statue 'Contemplation of Justice' sits above the west front plaza of the U.S. Supreme Court on ...

Mark Sherman

Supreme Court rules California man can’t trademark ‘Trump too small’

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against a man who wants to trademark the suggestive phrase “Trump too small.”

6 hours ago

FILE - Boxes of the drug mifepristone sit on a shelf at the West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloo...

Mark Sherman

Unanimous Supreme Court preserves access to widely used abortion medication

The Supreme Court has preserved access to a medication that was used in nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the U.S. last year.

7 hours ago

FILE - The 1200 building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is seen, Oct. 2...

Terry Spencer, Associated Press

Six years after the Parkland school massacre, the bloodstained building will finally be demolished

The demolition of the building where 17 people died in the 2018 Parkland school shooting is set to begin. Crews will begin tearing down the three-story building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Friday.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Jurors in Hunter Biden’s gun trial begin deliberating whether he’s guilty of federal firearm charges