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She's Hunter Biden's rock. She may also be his secret weapon with the jury

Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

WILMINGTON, Del. — To prove to jurors that Hunter Biden was an addict who lied about his drug use to buy a gun, federal prosecutors have turned to the women closest to him.

His ex-wife recalled finding a crack pipe on the porch a day after their anniversary. A former stripper turned girlfriend told the jury about their monthlong stay in a Chateau Marmont bungalow, where dealers squired cocaine through a private entrance.

Then there was Hallie Biden, who had been married to his brother Beau. In a stormy entanglement brought on by grief over Beau's death, she briefly became Hunter's lover.

"I called you 500 times in the past 24 hours," she texted Hunter two days after he bought the gun. Hunter replied that he was "smoking crack" in downtown Wilmington, Delaware.

Another woman in the life of President Joe Biden's son has listened intently through it all, holding his hand as they arrived at and left the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington each day last week: Melissa Cohen Biden, his wife of five years.

Always perched in the same seat — second spot in the front row, next to a Secret Service agent, a few feet from her husband — Melissa has had a clear view of the jury, her wide, blue eyes taking in the rehashing of her husband's darkest chapter.


Surrounded by relatives, including first lady Jill Biden, Melissa was the only family member whom defense attorney Abbe Lowell called out by name in his opening statement. Gesturing toward her, Lowell said Melissa helped Hunter face "the true depth of his trauma."

In the theater of the courtroom — especially a trial where the prosecution's star witnesses have been three of Hunter Biden's former lovers — Melissa's role is singular and potent with the only audience that matters now: the jury.

Her blonde hair often pulled back in a bun, Melissa hasn't hesitated to show emotion.

When the lead prosecutor concluded his opening statement by urging the jury to find Hunter guilty, she shook her head and mouthed, "No." She shook her head again when the prosecutor unsheathed a Macbook Pro 13 and held it up to the jury — Hunter's infamous laptop, seized by the FBI from a Delaware repair shop. She shed a few tears during the airing of her husband's memoir.


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