Hunter Biden found guilty on 3 counts in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, walks out of federal court on the day of his trial on gun-related criminal charges, in Wilmington, Delaware, June 10, 2024. Photo by Hannah Beier/Reuters

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Hunter Biden was convicted on three counts related to purchasing a gun in 2018 when, prosecutors say, the president’s son lied on a gun purchase form compulsory weapon by claiming that he was not using illegally or addicted.

Jurors found Hunter Biden guilty of lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false statement on the application that he was not a drug user and illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days.

He stared straight ahead and showed little emotion as the verdict was read. After the verdict, he patted his lawyer on the shoulder.

He faces up to 25 years in prison when sentenced by Judge Maryellen Noreika, although first-time offenders do not reach the maximum sentence, and it is unclear whether she would give him time behind bars .

LEARN MORE: Prosecutors spend first day of testimony in Hunter Biden’s gun trial, detailing his drug problems

Today, Hunter Biden and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, President Joe Biden’s main political rival, were convicted by U.S. juries in an election year that has been as much about the courtroom as well as campaign events and rallies.

Joe Biden stayed away from the federal courtroom in Delaware where his son was tried and said little about the case, fearing creating the impression of interference in a criminal case brought by its own Ministry of Justice. But the Democrat’s allies worry about the toll the trial — and now conviction — will take on the 81-year-old, who has long worried about the health and sustained sobriety of his only living son.

Both Hunter Biden and Trump said they were victims of the politics of the day. But while Trump continues to falsely claim the verdict was “rigged,” Joe Biden has said he would accept the results of the verdict and not seek to pardon his son.

Hunter Biden’s legal troubles aren’t over. He faces a September trial in California for failure to pay $1.4 million in taxes, and congressional Republicans have indicated they will continue to pursue him in their effort to impeach the president. The president has not been accused or charged with wrongdoing by prosecutors investigating his son.

WATCH: What the prosecution and defense said during closing arguments in Hunter Biden’s trial

The prosecution spent much of the trial highlighting the seriousness of Hunter Biden’s drug problem, through highly personal testimony and embarrassing evidence.

Jurors heard Hunter Biden’s ex-wife and a former girlfriend testify about his habitual crack use and their unsuccessful efforts to help him get clean. Jurors saw images of the president’s son shirtless and disheveled in a dirty room, and half-naked holding crack pipes. And jurors watched a video of his crack dose being weighed on a scale.

Hunter Biden did not testify, but jurors heard his voice when prosecutors played audio excerpts from his 2021 memoir “Beautiful Things,” in which he talks about hitting rock bottom after the death of his brother Beau in 2015 and his descent into drugs before his eventual sobriety. .

Prosecutors said the evidence was necessary to prove that Hunter, 54, was in the throes of an addiction when he bought the gun and therefore lied when he checked “no” on the form that asked him to s He was “an illegal or dependent user of drugs.”

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell had argued that Hunter Biden’s state of mind was different when he wrote the book than when he bought the gun – when he didn’t believe he had any addiction. Lowell stressed to jurors that some of the questions on the gun transaction record are in the present tense, such as “are you an illegal user of or are you addicted to” drugs.

And Lowell suggested that Hunter Biden might have thought he had a drinking problem at the time, but not a drug problem. Alcohol abuse does not prevent the purchase of a firearm.

Hunter Biden had hoped last year to resolve a long-running federal investigation as part of a deal with prosecutors that would avoid the spectacle of a trial so close to the 2024 election. Under the deal, he would have pleaded guilty of tax crimes and would avoid prosecution in the gun case if he stayed out of trouble for two years.

But the deal collapsed after Noreika, a Trump appointee, questioned unusual aspects of the proposed deal, and lawyers were unable to resolve the issue.

LEARN MORE: Hunter Biden’s exes questioned about his drug use on third day of gun trial

Attorney General Merrick Garland then named lead investigator David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware, as special counsel last August, and a month later Hunter Biden was indicted.

Hunter Biden said he was indicted because the Justice Department bowed to pressure from Republicans who claimed the Democratic president’s son was getting special treatment.

The reason law enforcement raised questions about the gun is because Hallie Biden, Beau’s widow, found it unloaded in Hunter’s truck on October 23, 2018, panicked and threw it in a trash can at Janssen Market, where a man inadvertently fished it out. out of the trash. She testified about the episode in court.

Hallie Biden, who was romantically involved with Hunter after Beau’s death, eventually called the police. Officers recovered the gun from the man who had inadvertently taken the gun along with other recyclable materials from the trash. The case was ultimately dismissed due to lack of cooperation from Hunter Biden, who was considered the victim.

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, walks out of federal court on the day of his trial on gun-related criminal charges, in Wilmington, Delaware, June 10, 2024. Photo by Hannah Beier/Reuters