Biden’s son convicted in gun trial

Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, was convicted of lying about using drugs to illegally purchase a gun, becoming the first child of a sitting US president convicted of a crime.

A 12-member jury in Wilmington, Delaware – the Bidens’ hometown – on Tuesday found the defendant guilty of all three counts against him.

Hunter Biden nodded slightly after the verdict was read, but otherwise showed little reaction. The 54-year-old then patted his lawyer Abbe Lowell on the back and hugged another member of his legal team.

Lowell said in a statement that they would “vigorously pursue all legal challenges available to Hunter.”

Biden still faces a separate tax case in California.

Hunter Biden, seen at a Wilmington food hall after the verdict, referred Reuters reporters to his statement when asked for further comment, but said, “everything is fine.”

“How could it be otherwise?” » he added, pointing to a child on his lap whom he did not identify.

The trial took place against the backdrop of the November 5 election pitting Democrat Joe Biden against his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, who himself was convicted in a historic trial in New York state last month .

After about three hours of deliberation, jurors found that Hunter Biden falsely claimed not to use illegal drugs when he filled out a government inspection document for a Colt Cobra revolver in 2018 and then illegally possessed the weapon .

In a statement, Hunter Biden said he was more grateful for the love and support he received than disappointed by the guilty verdict. He said he was “blessed” to experience the gift of recovery “one day at a time.”

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika set no date for sentencing, but added it would typically be within 120 days. That would put it at the latest about a month before the Nov. 5 U.S. presidential election.

The president issued a statement saying he accepted the outcome of the case and would respect the legal process while his son considers an appeal.

Hours after the verdict, Hunter, his wife and son met the president’s helicopter when it landed at a Delaware Air National Guard base in New Castle. The president hugged his son and kissed his daughter-in-law and grandchild.

Some 61% of registered voters responding to a Reuters/Ipsos poll in February said Hunter Biden’s legal troubles would have no impact on their vote for his father in November. The poll showed voters were divided on whether Hunter Biden’s legal troubles were related to his father’s service as president.

Sentencing guidelines for gun-related charges are 15 to 21 months, but legal experts say defendants in similar cases often receive shorter sentences and are less likely to be incarcerated if they are not. they respect the conditions of their provisional release.

In an audio interview with CNN, a juror identified only as Number 10 said, “In deliberating, we weren’t thinking about the sentence and I really don’t think Hunter belongs in prison.”

The juror said, “No politics came into play and we didn’t even talk about politics. We didn’t even talk about the first family. It was all about Hunter.”

Focus on the tight race for the White House

The trial follows the May 30 criminal conviction of Trump, the first U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

Trump, convicted of 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal, has claimed without evidence that the multiple criminal charges he faces were orchestrated by Joe Biden in an effort to block his re-election.

As of Tuesday, Trump’s campaign showed no signs of changing course.

“This trial has been nothing more than a distraction from the true crimes of the Biden crime family,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said in a statement.

Congressional Democrats had pointed to the Hunter Biden trial, as well as ongoing federal charges against two Democratic members of Congress, as proof that President Biden was not using the legal system for partisan purposes.

The president himself said last week that he would not pardon his son if he were found guilty.

The Delaware trial included testimony against Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, former girlfriend and sister-in-law, who gave first-hand accounts of his growing addiction in the weeks before and after the purchase of the weapon.

Prosecutors also showed text messages, photos and bank records that they said showed Biden was in the throes of a deep addiction when he bought the gun and that he knowingly broke the law by responding ” no” to the question of being a drug user on a government screening form.

Biden’s lawyers sought to show that he was not using drugs when he bought the gun and that he did not intend to deceive because he did not consider himself a drug user when he completed the form.

The defense called Hunter Biden’s daughter, Naomi Biden, who testified that her father appeared to be doing well when she saw him shortly before and after he bought the gun.

The case was brought by U.S. Justice Department special counsel David Weiss, a Trump appointee.

In a subsequent press conference, Weiss said the case was not just about addiction, but also about the illegal choices Hunter Biden made while in the throes of addiction.

“His choice to lie on a government form when he purchased a gun, and his choice to then own that gun. It was these choices, along with the combination of guns and drugs, that made his driving dangerous “Weiss said.

Weiss also charged Hunter Biden with three tax offenses and six tax offenses in California, alleging he failed to pay $1.4 million (NZ$2.27 million) in taxes between 2016 and 2019 while spending millions on drugs, escorts and exotic cars. and other expensive items.

He has pleaded not guilty to these charges. A trial is scheduled for September 5 in Los Angeles.

President talks about gun safety

President Biden, meanwhile, outlined his administration’s efforts to reduce illegal gun trafficking and reduce crime at a summit on gun violence prevention just hours after his son’s verdict.

In a written statement, he said he accepted the outcome of the case but did not address the issue during a speech Tuesday to gun violence survivors, mayors, parents and educators. Biden was expected to return to Wilmington, Delaware later today to be with his son.

Joe Biden praised survivors of gun violence for their determination to focus not on their anger, but on what they can do to prevent further tragedies.

Through their words and actions, he said survivors are ensuring that “all victims of gun violence are not forgotten.” They did not die in vain.”

He highlighted his administration’s efforts to reduce crime as the second anniversary of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act approaches.

This law was created following massacres at a Texas elementary school and a New York supermarket. It established new criminal offenses for the purchase of firearms by buyers who lie about the intended owner of the gun, among other provisions.

The Justice Department has charged more than 500 defendants with violating gun-trafficking and straw-purchasing provisions of a new gun safety law enacted two years ago, it said. the White House on Tuesday.