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Hunter Biden found guilty in gun trial that revealed dark aspects of his life

WILMINGTON, Del. – Hunter Biden was found guilty criminal gun charges in federal court Tuesday, ending a trial that revealed some of the ugliest moments in the president’s son’s life and nationally exposed the pain, heartbreak and regret of the first family.

The jury found that Hunter Biden, 54, lied about his drug use when he filled out a form to buy a gun in October 2018, then illegally possessed that gun as a drug user for 11 days.

The jury deliberated for just over three hours before finding him guilty on all three counts. Biden nodded, but showed little emotion as the verdict was read. He then hugged each member of his legal team and said thank you.

Biden walked past the defendant’s table, hugged and kissed his wife, Melissa Cohen-Biden, and left the courtroom shaking hands of friends and family along the way.

In a written statement after leaving the courthouse, Biden said he was “more I am grateful today for the love and support I felt last week from Melissa, my family, friends and community, but I am disappointed with the outcome. Recovery is possible by the grace of God, and I am blessed to experience this gift one day at a time.

The gun trial, which lasted just over a week, highlighted years of behind-the-scenes internal drama within the Biden family, with relatives and former family members coming to the witness stand. The debates also took place against the backdrop of President Biden’s re-election campaign, with Republicans taking advantage of Hunter Biden’s legal troubles to try to portray the entire Biden family as corrupt.

The trial also showed the heartbreaking reality of prosecuting an addict, especially one who has spoken openly about his struggles and claims to have been sober since 2019. After the verdict, one juror told the Washington Post that he didn’t believe Hunter Biden belonged to prison and that he felt bad that his daughter had to testify about her father’s drug use.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika and prosecutors had warned jurors that “sympathy” should not play a role in their verdict. Ultimately, after a trial that included painful testimony from Biden’s romantic partners and readings of his text messages, jurors were asked to decide whether he lied on a form when he purchased a gun and whether he then possessed her illegally as a drug addict.

President Biden said in a statement that he loved Hunter and was “proud of the man he is today.” Biden said earlier that he would not pardon his son if convicted, and he repeated that on Tuesday.

“I will accept the outcome of this case and continue to respect the legal process while Hunter considers an appeal,” the president said. “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.

Special counsel David Weiss, who oversaw the Hunter Biden investigation for years, said the gun charges case “isn’t just about addiction, a disease that haunts families across the United States, including Hunter Biden’s family. This case was about the legal choices the defendant made while in the throes of addiction,” Weiss said in a brief speech to reporters after the verdict. “It was these choices and the combination of weapons and drugs that made his driving dangerous.”

Weiss, who is preparing to rearraign Hunter Biden in September on tax charges, announced the verdict. illustrated a fundamental principle of American justice.

“No one in this country is above the law. Everyone must be accountable for their actions, including this defendant,” said Weiss, who also signaled that when it comes to Biden’s sentencing, the president’s son should once again be treated like everyone else.

The most serious charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, but as a first-time offender, Biden will likely receive a much lighter sentence and may not go to prison.

President Biden met with his son, Hunter, upon landing in Delaware on June 11, hours after Hunter was convicted of lying about purchasing a gun in 2018. (Video: The Washington Post)

Biden’s defense attorneys have argued that prosecutors have not offered a drug test or other concrete evidence that he was on drugs when he bought the gun, or that he was taking Drugs. while the weapon was in his possession. Prosecutors said the jury in its closing arguments that I didn’t have to prove them details and that their responsibility was to show that Biden knew he was a drug user and was addicted to them at the time of the purchase in October 2018.

If the trial evidence doesn’t conclusively prove that Hunter Biden was addicted to crack in 2018, “then no one is addicted to crack,” prosecutor Derek Hines told jurors in his closing argument Monday. Hines scoffed at the defense’s assertion that Biden, a Yale-trained lawyer, was somehow confused by the administrative issues involved in purchasing a gun.

“The same laws apply to the accused as they do to anyone else,” Hines said.

Fellow prosecutor Leo Wise alluded to the frequent presence in the courtroom of first lady Jill Biden and much of the Biden family, telling the jury: “The people sitting in the gallery are not evidence.”

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell accused prosecutors of performing a sort of magic trick on the jury, trying to get it to focus on anything other than the most critical evidence. Lowell said prosecutors were trying to turn Biden’s words of recovery — particularly the way he described his once-frequent drug use in his autobiography — into damning confessions.

A 2018 text in which Hunter Biden called himself a “liar,” “thief” and “addict” was not an admission but a “cry for help,” Lowell said. Prosecutors “spent hours, literally hours, recounting Hunter’s terrible journey through alcoholism and drug addiction,” Lowell said. Biden never used or loaded the gun, Lowell told the jury.

Hunter, President Joe Biden’s son, was found guilty of all charges in a criminal case centered on the purchase of a gun in 2018. (Video: Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post)

The gun charges Biden faced are rarely brought as stand-alone charges without being linked to other alleged crimes. The charges against Biden are the result of a long-running federal investigation into his taxes and business dealings during a period when his father was vice president and after he left that office.

In an interview with The Post, Juror No. 10, a 68-year-old white man, said the jury did not discuss politics. Joe Biden’s name “came up once during the trial, then it sunk in a bit: the son of the sitting president on trial. …It was difficult, but you kind of put it out of your mind. … I don’t think it was politicized,” said the juror, who declined to give his name for fear of being the subject of public recriminations.

The juror said that when the panel began deliberating, its members were split evenly, 6 to 6, on whether to convict the defendant, but as they discussed the evidence, they became quickly became unanimous in favor of conviction.

He also said he was sad to hear the testimony of Hunter Biden’s daughter, Naomi Biden, who was called as a witness by the defense. “No daughter should have to testify against her father,” the juror said.

“I really don’t think Hunter belongs in prison,” the juror said, while adding that Biden’s own book provided much of the critical evidence against him.

“Hunter didn’t testify, but obviously he testified through the book because those were his words,” the juror said. “And he chose to have it on audio – so when you have it on audio, and he writes this book and he tells you, ‘I’m an addict’ – that has to play a role. We can’t help but think of him admitting he was a drug addict.

Last summer, Hunter Biden reached a deal with prosecutors that would have involved admitting facts in the gun case. But the deal collapsed following scrutiny from the trial judge and disagreement over whether Biden would receive immunity from possible additional charges.

Prosecutors called witness after witness to testify about Hunter Biden’s widespread crack cocaine use after the death of his brother, Beau, from brain cancer in 2015. Witnesses included Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle , and Beau Biden’s widow, Hallie Biden, with whom Hunter Biden had an on-off romance between 2016 and 2019.

They offered text messages and anecdotes detailing Hunter Biden’s alleged drug use at the time of the gun purchase and failed to attempt to help him. In a key text message from Hunter Biden days after purchasing the gun, he told Hallie he was “sleeping on a car smoking crack.”

Hunter Biden’s personal life has become more stable in recent years – with his marriage to Cohen-Biden and a young son named Beau in honor of his late brother. But the legal threats he faces have multiplied.

He is scheduled to stand trial in Los Angeles on federal tax evasion charges. charges in September, two months before Election Day. That trial involves the same federal prosecutors, who are expected to outline the various ways Biden spent his money. According to the indictment, much of that money was intended for “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing and other items.” of a personal nature, in short, everything except his taxes.”

In Delaware, prosecutors opened their case by playing a recording of Hunter Biden reading from his tell-all memoir, in which he revealed in detail how he bought and used drugs and talked about various women he slept with in hotels Across the country. Trial exhibits included photos displayed on a large screen in the courtroom, showing him passed out from drug use or in a bubble bath with a woman.

Hunter Biden has said he has been sober since around 2019. His book was a confessional in some ways, and he attempted to repair the relationships broken by his years of debauchery. He has also tried to adopt a more public profile and oppose Republicans in Congress and elsewhere who have been his most vocal critics.

Throughout the trial, various family members filled the rows behind the defense table where Biden sat. His mother, Jill Biden, tried to be there almost every day, traveling back and forth from France to be able to attend the trial in between joining her husband for D-Day commemorations and a state dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Almost every time Hunter Biden entered or left the courtroom, he kissed Jill Biden on the cheek, then kissed his wife and walked hand in hand with her on his way out.