Jury Deliberates Fate of Hunter Biden in Gun Case

Monday saw the jury begin deliberations in the high-profile case of Hunter Biden, accused of falsely denying his drug use to acquire a handgun in 2018. This marks the first criminal trial of a sitting president’s child, drawing significant public and media attention.

After hearing final arguments, the 12 jurors deliberated for an hour and are set to resume discussions on Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET. Prosecutor Derek Hines emphasized the principle of equal application of the law, urging the jury to find Hunter Biden guilty based on evidence.

“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 stated.

Hunter Biden, 54, has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying about his addiction on a government screening form for a Colt Cobra revolver and illegally possessing the firearm for 11 days. His defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, likened the prosecution’s focus on past drug use to a magician’s trick, arguing it created a false impression of his client’s state during the purchase.

“They blurred all those years before he walked into StarQuest Shooters and all those years after,” Lowell argued, pointing to the gun store where Biden made the purchase.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika instructed jurors to impartially assess the case based solely on evidence presented. Prosecutors last week provided detailed accounts of Biden’s struggles with alcohol and crack cocaine, arguing these issues legally barred him from purchasing a gun.

Federal prosecutor Leo Wise urged the jury to use commonsense in interpreting the extensive testimony regarding Biden’s drug use. “It was personal, it was ugly, and it was overwhelming,” Wise said, “But it was also necessary.”

This trial follows the recent historic conviction of Donald Trump, the first former president found guilty of a felony, amidst his campaign to challenge Joe Biden in the upcoming presidential election. Trump and his allies have suggested these prosecutions are politically motivated, while Democrats cite Hunter Biden’s case as proof of impartial justice under President Biden.

During closing arguments, Wise dismissed the significance of prominent figures attending the trial, possibly referring to First Lady Jill Biden’s presence. “What matters came from the witness stand,” he said.

Last week, testimony from Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, former girlfriend, and sister-in-law painted a grim picture of his addiction, detailing instances where they found drugs and paraphernalia in his possession. Wise highlighted passages from Biden’s memoir, where he recounted relapsing into drug use before buying the gun. “Take the defendant’s word for it. That’s his truth,” Wise asserted.

Hunter Biden has maintained his sobriety since 2019, as he told the judge in a 2023 hearing. Legal experts suggest that if convicted, he might receive a sentence shorter than the guideline of 15 to 21 months, often avoiding incarceration if he complies with pretrial release conditions.

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