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Hunter Biden found guilty of illegally buying and owning a gun

Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

WILMINGTON, Del. — A jury in Delaware convicted Hunter Biden, the president’s son, of illegally buying and owning a gun while he was addicted to crack cocaine.

The guilty verdict, handed down Tuesday after about three hours of deliberations, capped a week-long trial in which prosecutors elicited testimony from Biden’s ex-wife, an ex-girlfriend and his sister-in-law turned lover, who all spoke in graphic detail about his addiction to drugs and alcohol, with First Lady Jill Biden often sitting in the front row.

Coming in an election year, the verdict was sure to be seized on by political opponents of his father, President Joe Biden, and to be spun as a victory for Republican leaders who last year criticized a plea deal for Hunter Biden on similar charges. The deal unraveled under questioning by U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika — the same judge who presided over the trial — and paved the way for the indictment on the gun charges.

A second criminal trial for Hunter Biden is scheduled for September in Los Angeles, where the Malibu resident faces federal charges of tax evasion and failing to pay his taxes on time.

In Delaware, Biden was on trial on three felony charges: lying on a federal background check form about his crack habit in order to buy a Colt revolver, giving a false statement to a federal firearms dealer and possessing a gun while being an illicit drug user. The jury convicted him on all three counts.

The case largely centered on how Biden answered a question on the background check form on Oct. 12, 2018, which asked: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”

 

Hunter checked “No.”

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell emphasized the limited evidence of Biden’s drug use around the time he purchased the revolver, that the gun salesman did not perceive him to be under the influence or glassy-eyed, and that no witness saw him using drugs in the days after, when he owned the gun.

Lowell contended that the gun was never fired and remained locked up until Hunter’s brother’s widow, Hallie Biden, found it on the morning of Oct. 23, 2018, and in a panic, disposed of it in a trash bin outside a nearby grocery store. Hunter, who was dating Hallie at the time, urged her to retrieve the gun once he discovered it missing, asking her, “Are you insane?”

But when Hallie Biden returned to the supermarket, the gun was gone from the trash can, and Hunter instructed her to contact police.

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©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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