14.6 C
United Kingdom
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Hunter Biden found GUILTY at federal gun trial: President’s son faces up to 25 years in prison for lying about crack cocaine addiction when he bought revolver


Hunter Biden was dramatically found guilty of three criminal charges today in his blockbuster gun and drugs trial.

A jury in Wilmington, Delaware unanimously convicted Joe Biden’s son of two counts of lying on a federal government form to buy a gun, and one count of possessing the firearm while abusing drugs.

Jurors deliberated for less than three hours after a trial that had lasted over a week. 

The swift and historic conviction marks the first time a sitting U.S. President’s child has been found guilty of a federal crime. He could now face up to a maximum of 25 years in jail.

Hunter nodded slowly and appeared resigned as the guilty verdicts were read out.

Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden's son, accompanied by his mother, first lady Jill Biden and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, walks out of federal court after hearing the verdict, Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Wilmington, Del

Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, accompanied by his mother, first lady Jill Biden and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, walks out of federal court after hearing the verdict, Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Wilmington, Del

Hunter Biden's computer  hard drive, which was abandoned at a repair shop and leaked to the media, included images of the president's son smoking from a crack pipe

Hunter Biden’s computer  hard drive, which was abandoned at a repair shop and leaked to the media, included images of the president’s son smoking from a crack pipe

The conviction will put to the test a public promise by Joe Biden that he will not pardon his son. 

President Biden issued a statement saying he accepted the outcome of the case and would respect the judicial process as his son considers an appeal.

He said: ‘I am the President, but I am also a Dad. 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. 

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

Ironically, the verdict came hours before President Biden was set to give a speech on gun control at the Gun Sense University Conference in Atlanta.

A television monitor shows the verdict in the Hunter Biden trial in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, June 11, 2024

A television monitor shows the verdict in the Hunter Biden trial in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, June 11, 2024

US President Joe Biden during a Juneteenth concert on the South Lawn of the White House the night before his son was convicted

US President Joe Biden during a Juneteenth concert on the South Lawn of the White House the night before his son was convicted

After the jury left the courtroom Hunter, dressed in a dark suit and tie, hugged his lawyers, kissed his wife Melissa who gave him a tight smile, and left the room a convicted felon. 

In a statement he said: ‘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. 

‘Recovery is possible by the grace of God, and I am blessed to experience that gift one day at a time.”

Jill Biden showed up at the courthouse but was too late to sit in the room as the jury gave their verdict.

The First Lady accompanied Hunter and Melissa as they left, accompanied by Secret Service.

Hunter will now await Judge Maryellen Noreika to decide on a sentence for the crimes, which could be as high as 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine – although the typical sentence is much lower. 

An image from Hunter Biden's laptop shows the president's son naked and holding a handgun by his side

An image from Hunter Biden’s laptop shows the president’s son naked and holding a handgun by his side

The Colt Cobra revolver Hunter Biden purchased on October 12, 2018

The Colt Cobra revolver Hunter Biden purchased on October 12, 2018

During the trial the jury heard that Hunter bought a .38-caliber Colt Cobra revolver from a gun store in Joe Biden’s home town of Wilmington, Delaware on October 12, 2018.

In doing so he was required to fill out a form and checked a box saying he was not a drug user.

The prosecution devoted much of the trial to highlighting how Hunter was in fact using crack at the time. 

Jurors heard from Hallie Biden, the widow of Hunter’s late brother Beau. Hallie and Hunter had a romantic relationship after Beau’s death in 2015.

Hallie told the court she had also taken crack and she was ‘ashamed’.

Eleven days after Hunter bought the gun she found it in his truck.

She ‘panicked’ and dumped it in a trash can outside a Wilmington grocery store.

An image submitted as evidence in the trial

An image submitted as evidence in the trial

An image submitted as evidence by the prosecution in Hunter Biden's trial

An image submitted as evidence by the prosecution in Hunter Biden’s trial

It was then retrieved by a military veteran going through the trash for recyclables and eventually tracked down by the FBI.

Jurors also heard from Hunter’s former girlfriend Zoe Kestan who said he had been using crack ‘every 15 minutes’ in 2018.

There were also text messages from Hunter in October 2018 talking about meeting a ‘dealer called Mookie’ at a 7-Eleven grocery store.

He also sent a message to Hallie saying he had fallen asleep smoking crack on top of a car. 

Jurors saw images of the president’s son bare-chested and disheveled in a filthy room, and half-naked holding crack pipes.

They also watched video of his crack cocaine weighed on a scale.

Hunter did not testify but jurors heard his voice when prosecutors played audio excerpts of his 2021 memoir, ‘Beautiful Things,’ in which he talks about hitting bottom after the death of his brother, and his descent into drugs before his eventually achieving sobriety.

Prosecutors said Hunter was in the throes of addiction when he bought the gun and therefore lied when he checked ‘no’ on the form.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers had argued that he did not consider himself an ‘addict’ when he bought the gun.

Hunter’s conviction required a unanimous verdict from the jury. Each of the jurors signed a form to show they were in agreement. 

Jurors deliberated for one hour yesterday and two hours today before reaching their verdict at 11am Tuesday.

Reports suggested the jury had been split 6-6 when they left court on Monday night, but were 11-1 in favor of conviction when they returned on Tuesday morning. Shortly after that they were unanimous.

The judge said that sentencing dates are usually discussed ‘20 days out’ from a conviction.

The smiling prosecutors said they had no comment.

Hunter’s attorney Abbe Lowell confirmed in court that he would be pursuing his challenges to the conviction.

These include a Second Amendment challenge, that the charges violate Hunter’s constitutional right to bear arms.

Some defendants convicted of his offenses do not get any jail time.

But in a recent sentence for similar crimes Judge Noreika gave another defendant one year in federal prison.

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. first lady Jill Biden leave the federal court after the jury finds him guilty on all three counts in his trial on criminal gun charges, in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., June 11, 2024

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. first lady Jill Biden leave the federal court after the jury finds him guilty on all three counts in his trial on criminal gun charges, in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., June 11, 2024

Zoe Kestan, a former girlfriend of Hunter Biden, who gave evidence about his use of crack

Zoe Kestan, a former girlfriend of Hunter Biden, who gave evidence about his use of crack

Zoe Kestan testified under an immunity agreement about Hunter's drug use

Zoe Kestan testified under an immunity agreement about Hunter’s drug use

The court’s probation office will now compile a presentence investigation report, which will include information the judge will use to weigh up his sentence.

Judge Noreika is not required to follow sentencing guidelines, but cannot give more than legal maximum sentence.

Hunter’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, has already filed motions objecting to the case on various grounds, and previously indicated that he will be appealing any conviction.

He argues there the convictions can be challenge under the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Even convicts who are ultimately incarcerated, can remain out of prison for several months or more while they await sentencing, or with their case tied up in appeals.

Hunter’s former business partner Devon Archer was convicted of a $60 million fraud on a Native American tribe in 2018, and is yet to step inside a prison cell due to legal wrangling.

If Hunter is in prison during the November 2024 presidential election, he will not be able to vote for his father.

In California, where Hunter lives, felons who are currently incarcerated cannot vote.

The jury began their deliberations on Monday shortly after 3.30pm.

They broke for the day at 4.30pm and resumed weighing the case at 9am on Tuesday.

The felon First Son’s legal troubles are far from over.

In September he faces a tax crimes trial from the same prosecutors, Leo Wise and Derek Hines, who are working for Special Counsel David Weiss.

First Lady Jill Biden attended the trial to support her step son

First Lady Jill Biden attended the trial to support her step son

Hunter Biden and Hallie Biden, his brother's widow, with whom Hunter had a romantic relationship

Hunter Biden and Hallie Biden, his brother’s widow, with whom Hunter had a romantic relationship

He is accused of nine charges, including three felony counts and six misdemeanors, of tax evasion, failure to file and pay his taxes, and filing a fraudulent tax return.

The charges span the tax years 2016 to 2019, and are considered more severe than his gun crimes.

His financial backer, Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris, has said he is running out of money to fund Hunter’s top legal team for the case.

And his defense will be further complicated if he is fighting it from inside a federal prison.

Legal pundits have pointed to a recent sentencing decision by Judge Noreika as a potential barometer for Hunter’s sentence.

Naomi Biden, Hunter's daughter, was called as a witness by the defense

Naomi Biden, Hunter’s daughter, was called as a witness by the defense 

On May 2 she sentenced Maryland man Zhi Dong to one year in prison for lying about his address on the same federal gun purchase forms.

Dong pleaded guilty, which often leads to a lesser sentence.

However, sentencing guidelines recommend higher sentences for crimes that involve three or more guns.

And Dong’s case also arguably involved more severe conduct.

In their sentencing memo prosecutors said he drove the guns he bought in Delaware to a California gun store, which they said was ‘indicative of trafficking firearms’ – though they noted he wasn’t ‘the brains of the operation’.

The government recommended six months, but Judge Noreika gave him double that, Politico first reported earlier this month.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles