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Hunter Biden found guilty

The president’s son has been convicted in a high-profile federal gun case

arrives to federal court with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. ©  AP Photo/Matt Rourke

US President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, has been found guilty by a Delaware jury on three federal charges relating to possession of a firearm while addicted to drugs.

Hunter Biden was accused of lying on a gun purchase form in 2018, falsely attesting that he was not a drug addict when, in fact, he was using crack cocaine at the time.

Tuesday’s verdict means Biden is the first son of a sitting president to be convicted in federal court. He could receive up to 25 years in prison, although the sentence is widely expected to be far more lenient.

In the course of the week-long trial, the jury heard details about Biden’s history with drugs, as well as testimony from his former romantic partners. They also viewed his personal messages and private photos. The prosecution had presented Hunter Biden’s laptop – the same one that sparked a 2020 scandal after the president’s son left it at a Delaware repair shop – as evidence.

Biden’s ex-wife and two ex-girlfriends testified about his crack-cocaine use and failed efforts to get clean. While Hunter did not take the stand, a key witness against him was Hallie Biden, the widow of his late brother Beau and a short-term romantic partner. She said that she had found the revolver in Hunter’s truck in October 2018, before panicking and throwing it in a store garbage can, where it was found later.

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The prosecution presented texts purporting that Biden was trying to buy drugs around the time when he purchased the gun. In one of the text messages, he admitted to Hallie that he was smoking crack. The defense argued that Hunter Biden did not mean what he wrote and was simply attempting to push Hallie away.

“We ask you [to] find the law applies equally to this defendant as it would to anyone else,” prosecutor Derek Hines asked of the jury in the closing arguments. “When he chose to lie and buy a gun, he violated the law. We ask you return the only verdict supported by the evidence – guilty,” Hines said.

Biden’s defense team argued that they had proven their case “seven ways to Sunday,” slamming the prosecution’s evidence as “ugly.” 

The prosecutors attempted to secure a plea deal with Biden in 2023, but it fell apart after being criticized by the judge.

Joe Biden has publicly defended his son. “As the president, I don’t and won’t comment on pending federal cases, but as a dad, I have boundless love for my son, confidence in him, and respect for his strength,” he said in a statement last week.

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