Hunter Biden Found Guilty Of Federal Charges Related To Gun Purchase

UPDATED with POTUS statement: Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, was found guilty Tuesday of three felony counts related to the purchase of a gun in 2018.

A jury in Wilmington, DE, rendered its verdict after three hours of deliberations. The verdict was covered across all major news networks, although news cameras were not allowed in the courtroom. Broadcast networks also broke into programming for special reports.

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Biden faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000. His sentence is likely to be much less than that given he is a first-time offender.

Biden’s trial was the latest criminal proceeding that has infused the 2024 presidential race. It started just days after a New York state jury convicted former President Donald Trump of 34 felonies. While Trump and his allies lashed out at the verdict as the result of a “rigged” political process, President Biden has been cautious about what he says about the judicial process related to his son. Republicans have long made Hunter Biden a political target, but President Biden said in an interview last week that he would accept his son’s verdict and had ruled out a pardon.

Biden was charged with three felonies, including accusations that he lied on federal paperwork by saying that he was not using or addicted to drugs when he acquired the firearm. Biden has long acknowledged an addiction to crack cocaine, but has since gotten sober.

First Lady Jill Biden was among those who has been present during some of the proceedings, along with other family members. She was also at the courthouse today.

Hunter Biden said in a statement, “I am more grateful for the love and support I experienced this last week from Melissa, my family, my friends and my community than I am disappointed by the outcome. Recovery is possible by the grace of God, and I am blessed to experience that gift one day at a time.” His attorney, Abbe Lowell, said that they “respect the jury process” and “will continue to vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available to Hunter.”

The president said in a statement, “As I said last week, I am the president, but I am also a Dad. Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today. So many families who have 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.”

“As I also said last week, I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal. 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.”

Hunter Biden’s attorneys claimed that their client did not consider himself an addict at the time he filled out the form for the gun purchase. But prosecutors presented extensive evidence detailing the seamier aspects of his life when he was in the throes of using, including playing portions of the audio version of his memoir, Beautiful Things. Biden possessed the gun for 11 days, until Hallie Biden, his brother’s widow who he had briefly dated, found it and threw it in the trash.

Biden also faces tax charges in Los Angeles, in a case that is scheduled for trial this fall.

Biden did not testify in his own defense. Last year, it looked as if he would plead guilty to charges as part of a deal with prosecutors, but it fell apart as the judge presiding questioned the arrangement. Republicans at the time also accused the Justice Department of arranging for leniency for the president’s son.

The president has not been at the courthouse. Later today, Biden is scheduled to speak at Everytown Gun Sense University to talk about gun violence prevention.

On NBC News, correspondent Laura Jarrett said, “It’s obviously a devastating blow to Hunter Biden and the Biden family, but it’s not entirely unexpected as the evidence here was really challenging for the defense.”

CNN interviewed one of the jurors, who said that the initial vote among the dozen was 6-6. This morning, it was 11-1. That holdout was eventually convinced by late morning.

Coverage of the verdict quickly turned to the potential political impact. On CNN, Kate Bedingfield, the former White House communications director under Biden, said that “everybody in this country can relate to having somebody in their family that they love struggling with addiction, and the challenge that puts your family through.” She noted that was a point that Joe Biden made during the 2020 presidential debates.

“This really undermines the argument that Trump has been making about Joe Biden weaponizing the justice system,” she said.

On Fox News, anchor Harris Faulkner said that she “can’t imagine a world we live in, a current president who is running for reelection, bringing this case up as a reason to reelect him,” before pointing to the president’s dismal poll numbers. Biden, however, has rarely brought up his son’s troubles unless asked about it.

Legal commentator Jonathan Turley claimed that “everyone is taking the president’s denial of any intent to pardon with a grain of salt. This is before the election. If he were a lame duck president, things may change dramatically.”

Stephen Miller, senior adviser to Trump, floated a conspiracy theory that the Hunter Biden trial was “an easy op” for the DOJ to “sell a pliant media that is all too willing to be duped.” Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed David Weiss as special counsel in the case last year.

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