Purchase of firearms and supervised drug use

The jury began deliberations Monday in the case of Hunter Biden, the son of the US president accused of lying about his use of illegal drugs when he bought a handgun in 2018. The 12 jurors deliberated for about a year hour after hearing final arguments. They will resume on Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET (1 p.m. GMT), a court official said.

“We ask that you ensure that the law applies equally to this defendant as it does to anyone else,” government prosecutor Derek Hines told the jury as a child’s first criminal trial d ‘a sitting president was reaching his final stages. “When he chose to lie and purchase a gun, he violated the law. We ask you to return the only verdict supported by evidence: guilty,” Hines said.

Biden, 54, son of President Joe Biden, has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges that include lying about his addiction when he filled out a government screening document for a Colt Cobra revolver and illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days. Defense attorney Abbe Lowell likened the government’s case to the work of a magician who focuses his attention on drug use months or years before the gun purchase to create the illusion that Hunter Biden was a crack user when he purchased the gun.

“They blurred out all those years before he got into StarQuest Shooters and all those years after,” Lowell told jurors, referring to the gun store where he made the purchase. U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika asked jurors to be impartial. “You have to decide the case based on the evidence,” she told them.

During four days of testimony last week, prosecutors offered an intimate glimpse into the younger Biden’s years-long struggle with alcohol and crack abuse, which prosecutors said legally prevented him from buying gun. In the prosecution’s closing arguments, a government lawyer said the common-sense understanding of Hunter Biden’s dark testimony of constant drug use filled in gaps in the evidence about his behavior at the time of the purchase of the drug. ‘armed.

“It was personal and it was ugly and it was upsetting,” federal prosecutor Leo Wise told the jury, referring to testimony about Hunter Biden’s drug use. “But it was also necessary.” The trial in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware, follows another historic first: the May 30 criminal conviction of Donald Trump, the first U.S. president to be convicted of a crime. Trump is the Republican challenger to Democrat Joe Biden in the November 5 presidential election.

Trump and some of his Republican allies in Congress have alleged that this case and three other criminal prosecutions were politically motivated attempts to prevent him from returning to power. Congressional Democrats are citing the prosecution of Hunter Biden as proof that Joe Biden is not using the justice system for political or personal gain.

Wise said it didn’t matter whether famous people appeared in court or how they reacted to the evidence, a possible reference to the presence of first lady Jill Biden. “None of that matters. What matters came from the witness box,” he said. Last week, Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, former girlfriend and sister-in-law testified for the prosecution about his drug use, telling jurors they often found drugs and accessories in his possession and that they were sometimes concerned about his growing dependence.

Wise read passages from Hunter Biden’s memoir about a failed attempt to get clean and a relapse into drug use, just before buying the gun. “Take the defendant at his word. It’s his truth,” Wise said. Hunter Biden told the judge in the case during a 2023 hearing that he has been sober since 2019.

The sentencing guidelines for the charges against Biden are 15 to 21 months, but legal experts say defendants in cases similar to his often receive shorter sentences and are less likely to be sentenced. be incarcerated if they respect the conditions of their provisional release.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)