Hunter Biden guilty: Jury delivers swift verdict in his felony gun trial

President Biden’s 54-year-old son was found guilty of three felony charges stemming from a 2018 gun purchase while he was addicted to drugs.

A jury delivered its verdict in Hunter Biden’s federal gun trial in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday, finding the president’s 54-year-old son guilty of all three felony charges stemming from a 2018 gun purchase.

After just three hours of deliberations, the 12-member panel concluded that the prosecution proved that Biden lied about his addiction to crack while applying to purchase the firearm and that he illegally possessed the handgun for 11 days.

Hunter Biden is the first child of a sitting U.S. president ever to be prosecuted and convicted of a crime.

🚨 What were the specific charges?

Hunter Biden departs from federal court in Wilmington Tuesday.
Hunter Biden departs from federal court in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday. (Matt Slocum/AP)

The jury found Biden guilty of the following felonies:

  1. Lying to a federally licensed gun dealer

  2. Making a false claim on a federal firearms form used to screen applicants

  3. Possessing an illegally obtained gun

The charges carry a maximum sentence of 25 years and fines of up to $750,000. However, there is no minimum sentence.

📌 How did he react?

Hunter Biden nodded his head after the verdict was read but otherwise showed little reaction, according to Reuters. Then he kissed and hugged family members and friends as he exited the courtroom.

➡️ How did we get here?

Hunter Biden and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden
Hunter Biden and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, arriving at court on Tuesday. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Biden purchased a .38-caliber Colt revolver from a gun store, StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply in Wilmington, Del., in October 2018.

Anyone who purchases a firearm is required to provide identification and fill out a form that’s collected by federal authorities. The form asks whether the purchaser is an unlawful user of or is addicted to controlled substances, narcotics and other listed substances. Biden, who’s been open about his longtime struggles with crack cocaine and claims to have been sober since May 2019, answered no to that question on the form, despite using drugs around that time.

Last year, Hunter Biden reached an agreement with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to two tax misdemeanors and agreed to seek treatment to have the gun charges dropped, but Republicans widely criticized the deal. Judge Maryellen Noreika, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, ultimately rejected the plea deal. And special counsel David Weiss, another Trump appointee, filed felony charges against Hunter Biden in September.

🔊 What happened during the trial?

Hallie Biden
Hallie Biden, widow of Beau Biden, departs federal court after testifying on June 6. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Jury deliberations began Monday, following closing arguments after the defense rested without calling Biden to testify.

A total of 13 witnesses testified during the six-day trial, including Biden’s ex-wife Kathleen Buhle, and two of his former romantic partners, including Hallie Biden, the widow of Beau Biden.

Prosecutors argued that Biden was aware of his drug addiction at the time he filled out the federal application to purchase a firearm. They used audio excerpts from Biden’s 2021 memoir in which he detailed his addiction around the time he purchased the handgun.

“The defendant knew he used crack and was addicted to crack at the relevant time period,” prosecutor Leo Wise told the jury during closing arguments.

Hunter Biden’s lead defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, argued that the prosecution had to prove that the president’s son knew he was violating the law at the time of his gun purchase, and that it failed to do so.

“With this very high burden, it’s time to end this case,” Lowell said.

🇺🇸 What was the White House’s reaction to the verdict?

A television monitor in the White House press briefing room displays the verdict in the Hunter Biden trial
A television monitor in the White House press briefing room displays the verdict in the Hunter Biden trial. (AFP via Getty Images)

President Biden released the following statement shortly after the verdict:

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 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. 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.

In a recent interview with ABC’s David Muir, the president said he would accept the jury’s verdict and also ruled out the possibility of a pardon for his son.

First lady Jill Biden, who attended all but one day of Hunter Biden’s trial, was in court again on Tuesday. President Biden did not attend the trial.

🗳️ Possible political ramifications

Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict in the gun trial comes just days after Trump was found guilty on 34 charges of falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to a porn star whose alleged affair with him threatened to torpedo his 2016 election campaign.

But Tuesday's ruling appears unlikely to harm Joe Biden's chances at the ballot box in November.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll from February, Some 61% of registered voters said Hunter Biden's legal troubles would have no impact on whether they voted for his father in November.

The poll, however, showed voters were divided over whether Hunter Biden's troubles were related to his father's service as president.

⏰ What happens next?

Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Biden is free as he awaits sentencing. Noreika, the judge, did not schedule a date for sentencing, but informed lawyers for both sides that it typically is set for 120 days from the verdict. While he is facing up to 25 years in prison, Biden, a first-time offender, is expected to receive far less or even no jail time.

And Biden could appeal Tuesday's verdict.

He is also facing a federal trial on tax charges, set to begin Sept. 5 in Los Angeles.