Hunter Biden Found Guilty Of Illegally Owning A Gun

A jury in Delaware has found the president’s son guilty of illegally owning a gun in 2018.

The government said Hunter Biden was addicted to drugs when he bought a pistol that October, and that he lied on a federal form when he checked a box saying he wasn’t an addict. Jurors agreed, and Biden now faces time behind bars.

The case has major political significance, coming as former President Donald Trump and the entire Republican Party mount an all-out assault on the U.S. justice system over its supposed “weaponization” by President Joe Biden against Trump, who faces federal charges for hoarding classified documents and trying to steal the 2020 election.

The Department of Justice has thrown the book at Hunter Biden, hitting him with illegal gun ownership charges that are rarely prosecuted as a standalone case without some other misconduct related to the firearm. The weeklong trial humiliated the first family, the guilty verdict could send the president’s son to prison, and he still faces another trial this fall for allegedly failing to pay his taxes on time.

During closing arguments on Monday, prosecutor Leo Wise reportedly gestured toward first lady Jill Biden and other members of the Biden family in the court gallery, saying: “Respectfully, none of that matters.”

Hunter Biden had originally struck a plea deal with prosecutors last year, but the agreement fell apart under questioning by District Judge Maryellen Noreika, which revealed a disagreement between Biden’s legal team and prosecutors about whether the government would still pursue other charges against Biden related to his international business deals.

So Biden pleaded not guilty, even though he didn’t deny buying the gun and he admitted in his 2021 memoir that he was constantly smoking crack cocaine around the time of the purchase. The government used the memoir to make its case, and also called to the stand Biden’s ex-wife, an ex-girlfriend, and his late brother’s widow, Hallie Biden, with whom he had a disastrous affair.

In his memoir, “Beautiful Things,” Biden wrote about his life unraveling after his older brother Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015. He would leave his family for weeks, saying he was attending a rehab clinic, only to hole up in hotel rooms and smoke crack every 15 minutes.

By late 2016, Biden wrote, “I possessed a new superpower: the ability to find crack in any town, at any time, no matter how unfamiliar the terrain.” During the trial, prosecutors played recordings of Biden narrating that line and others from the audiobook. (Biden wrote that he sobered up in 2019 after meeting his now-wife, Melissa Cohen Biden.)

Biden’s legal team tried to argue that he was not necessarily on crack or addicted to drugs at the exact moment he bought the gun, contrary to the story he told in his own book, which has been corroborated by pictures and messages that were taken from his laptop. (Biden only had the gun for 11 days before Hallie Biden, his girlfriend at the time, found it and threw it away.)

“The terms ‘user’ or ‘addict’ are not defined on the form and were not explained to him,” Biden’s attorneys said in their trial brief. “Someone, like Mr. Biden who had just completed an 11-day rehabilitation program and lived with a sober companion after that, could surely believe he was not a present tense user or addict.”

Biden’s attorneys also argued before the trial that the form asking about drug use was itself unconstitutional under the modern judiciary’s understanding of the Second Amendment, but Noreika rejected that argument.

The jury found Biden guilty on three counts: lying about his drug use on a federal form used in firearm sales that he was not addicted to a controlled substance, making that same lie to a federally licensed gun dealer, and illegally possessing a firearm even though he was an addict. Biden faces a maximum possible sentence of 25 years in prison, though it’s likely he would receive a lighter sentence, and he could appeal the case.

Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement that they would “continue to vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available to Hunter.”

In a statement, Joe Biden said he loved his son and would respect the judicial process.

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

Hunter Biden thanked his family and friends in a statement after the verdict.

“I am more grateful today 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,” he said. “Recovery is possible by the grace of God, and I am blessed to experience that gift one day at a time.”

In their impeachment inquiry against President Biden, Republicans looked for evidence that the president participated in his son’s business deals, but they heard instead from witnesses who said the elder Biden avoided getting involved. As part of the inquiry, they also interviewed IRS investigators who claimed the Justice Department slow-walked its case against Hunter Biden, though other officials involved in the matter have disputed their complaints.

The lead prosecutor, Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, was appointed by Trump. Attorney General Merrick Garland elevated Weiss to special counsel status last year after Hunter Biden’s plea agreement collapsed.

Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, suggested the trial was a sham.

“This trial has been nothing more than a distraction from the real crimes of the Biden Crime Family, which has raked in tens of millions of dollars from China, Russia and Ukraine,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said. “Crooked Joe Biden’s reign over the Biden Family Criminal Empire is all coming to an end on November 5th, and never again will a Biden sell government access for personal profit.”

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