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Hunter Biden found guilty of lying about drug use during gun purchase

The jury deliberated for about three hours before reaching a decision.
Hunter Biden outside federal court in Delaware.
Posted at 9:02 AM, Jun 11, 2024

A jury found Hunter Biden guilty on Tuesday of all three felony charges related to lying on a seven-page gun purchase form.

The verdict is a culmination of years of investigations that prosecutors said were bolstered by Biden’s book, “Beautiful Things: A Memoir,” in which the president’s son admits to using drugs around the time he bought the gun. Prosecutors argued that Hunter Biden knowingly lied about his drug use on federal gun-purchase form in 2018.

In the case, Biden was found guilty of making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of a firearm; making a false statement with respect to information required to be kept in records; and possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.

Biden could face up to 25 years in prison following his conviction.

The jury deliberated for about three hours before making a decision.

Juror number 10, a man, told CNN that on Monday night the jury was split in half. With only an hour to deliberate late into the day, the jury took an initial vote to see where things stood and came back 6-6 in terms of whether the president’s son was guilty.

He said no one was out to change anyone’s mind, but some needed to talk through the case more. The juror told CNN “no politics came into play” during deliberations.

On the second day, it took the jury another two hours to reach a unanimous decision after thinking through each prompt.

The juror said he thinks a prison sentence would be a harsh punishment.

"Deliberating, we were not thinking of the sentencing, and I really don't think that Hunter belongs in jail,” he said.

Another juror told CNN she thought the case “seemed like a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

After the jury's decision came down, special counsel David Weiss spoke out in a press briefing.

"Ultimately, this case was not just about addiction, a disease that haunts families across the United States, including Hunter Biden's family. This case was about the illegal choices the defendant made while in the throes of addiction, his choice to lie in a government form when he bought a gun, and the choice to then possess that gun. It was these choices, and the combination of guns and drugs, that made his conduct dangerous," Weiss said.

"No one in this country is above the law. Everyone must be accountable for their actions. Even this defendant," he added. "However, Hunter Biden should be no more accountable than any other citizen convicted of this same conduct. The prosecution has been and will continue to be committed to this principle and to the principles of federal prosecution in carrying out its responsibilities."

Weiss also thanked the jury for their service.

President Joe Biden also spoke out Tuesday after his son's guilty verdict.

“As I said last week, I am the President, but I am also a Dad. Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today. So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery," the president said in a statement.

"As I also said last week, I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal. Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that," President Biden said.

Trial testimony

Several people who were closest to Hunter Biden while he was heavily using drugs testified during the trial. Kathleen Buhle, who was married to Biden from 1993 to 2017, testified that she confronted her then-husband in 2015 after finding a crack pipe at their D.C. home. She also noted that she never saw him using drugs. Zoe Kestan, who was briefly involved with Biden in 2017 and 2018, took the stand after Buhle. She described meeting Hunter Biden at a strip club, but going their separate ways after their initial meeting. Kestan said she reconnected with Biden several months later, noting that he was smoking crack frequently at the time. However, she stated under oath that she did not see Biden around the time of the gun purchase.

Hallie Biden, the widow of the president’s other son Beau Biden, also testified during the trial. She and Hunter were romantically involved after Beau passed away from brain cancer in 2015. Hallie stated that Hunter introduced her to crack.

“I’m embarrassed, I’m ashamed, and I regret that period of my life,” she said on the witness stand. Hallie told the court that she stopped smoking crack in August 2018 and tried to get Hunter sober in October. She testified that she went to clean out Hunter’s truck and found drug paraphernalia and a gun.

The jury was shown surveillance footage of Hallie disposing of the gun, which was inside a leather pouch that was found to have drug residue on it. The defense team argued that the pouch had passed through many hands since Hunter Biden last had it.

The man who found the gun was tracked down by authorities, and he turned over the firearm. Naomi Biden, Hunter’s daughter, also testified about her father’s drug use. But she noted that she saw him in October 2018 to borrow his truck to help with moving. She said the truck was clean and there was no drug paraphernalia inside it.

Hunter Biden did not testify – allowing his defense team to try to convince the jury that he was not actively using drugs at the time he made the gun purchase.

Hunter Biden's family support

President Biden did not attend the trial, but he issued a statement in support of his son as the trial got started. “I am the President, but I am also a Dad. Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today. Hunter’s resilience in the face of adversity and the strength he has brought to his recovery are inspiring to us,” the president said. Unlike the president, first lady Jill Biden, along with Hunter’s current wife, Melissa, were fixtures in the courtroom.