US president’s son Hunter Biden found guilty in gun trial

Hunter Biden guilty of all charges in gun trial

4 hours agoBy Bernd Debusmann & Madeline Halpert, BBC News in Delaware court & New YorkEPAHunter Biden with First Lady Jill Biden (left) and wife Melissa Cohen Biden, as they leaves the court on Tuesday

Hunter Biden has been found guilty on all three charges in his federal gun trial, becoming the first son of a sitting US president to be criminally convicted.

Prosecutors said Biden, 54, lied about his drug use on a federal form when he bought a handgun in 2018.

Biden pleaded not guilty, claiming he was in recovery from drug addiction at the time and therefore did not lie on the gun application form.

A panel of 12 Delaware jurors reached their verdict after about three hours of deliberations.

Biden showed little emotion as the verdicts were read out. He stared ahead with his arms folded before turning around to hug some of the associates on his legal team.

He faced two charges related to lying about his drug use on a federal background check, and one for possessing a gun while addicted to or using drugs.

Once court was adjourned, he kissed and embraced his wife before walking out of the room, escorted by Secret Service agents.

Biden said in a statement that he was “disappointed by the outcome” but “grateful today for the love and support I experienced this last week from Melissa, my family, my friends, and my community.”

Several members of Biden’s family had supported him in court throughout the trial. However, only two were present for sentencing: his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, and James Biden, his uncle, and US President Joe Biden’s brother.

President Biden’s wife, Jill, arrived in the lobby of the court minutes after the verdict was read, and left with her step-son past throngs of photographers and journalists.

The judge did not set a date for sentencing, but noted that it usually would take place within 120 days of conviction.

Abbe Lowell, his lawyer, said he would “vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available to Hunter”.

Speaking after the conviction, special counsel David Weiss said the case was not about addiction, but about “the illegal choices the defendant made” while in the throes of addiction – echoing the words of the prosecutors involved in the trial.

“No one in this country is above the law,” Mr Weiss said. “Everyone must be accountable for their actions, even this defendant.”

“However, Hunter Biden should be no more accountable than any other citizen convicted of this same conduct,” he added.

The moment Hunter Biden leaves court after guilty verdict

Experts say it is possible Biden could face prison time – although it would be highly unlikely for him to receive the maximum sentence of 25 years.

The three gun charges all relate to Biden’s purchase of a Colt Cobra Special revolver at a Delaware gun store in October 2018, which he kept for about 11 days.

The gun was later discovered in his truck and discarded by his then-girlfriend Hallie Biden – the widow of his brother Beau – in a rubbish bin outside a shop.

Her decision, which she testified she now believes was “stupid”, set off a chaotic series of events that resulted in a criminal investigation and, ultimately, the guilty verdict.

Biden has been candid in the past about his “full-blown addiction” to crack cocaine, including in his memoir.

During the trial, prosecutors used portions of the book – in audiobook format, in Biden’s own voice – to highlight his painful descent into addiction and multiple failed attempts at recovery.

Jurors also heard from his ex-wife and former girlfriend Zoe Kestan, who described long crack binges at luxury hotels across the country.

The two false statement charges stemmed from allegations that he lied about his drug use on a federally mandated form when he bought the weapon.

Prosecutors said he falsely claimed he was “not an unlawful user of and addicted to any stimulant narcotic drug”.

The third count was related to possessing a firearm while using drugs.

President respects judicial process

Biden’s conviction comes at a politically fraught time for his father, who is in a tight race with Donald Trump for re-election.

President Biden said after the verdict that he was “so proud” of his son for his efforts to beat his addictions.

“So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery,” he said.

Before the verdict, the president said he would not pardon his son if convicted.

“I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal.”

The conviction was welcomed by some Republicans who had interviewed Hunter Biden as a part of their impeachment probe into his father.

“Today’s verdict is a step toward accountability,” House Oversight Chairman James Comer said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

‘No political motivations’

In court, both Mr Lowell and the prosecutors repeatedly told jurors that Biden’s family should have no bearing on their decision, even with the First Lady and Secret Service officers clearly visible from the jury box.

Speaking to BBC hours after the verdict, one of the jurors – known as No 10 – said that he and others on the panel took those messages to heart.

“I was never thinking of President Joe Biden” during the trial,” he said. “Even though Mrs Biden was there and I knew that was his wife. Somehow, you block that out of your mind.”

“His dad wasn’t on trial,” he said. “Out of all the jurors, nobody mentioned anything about political motivations.”

Judge says Hunter ‘treated more harshly’ for being a Biden

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