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Hunter Biden found guilty on all counts

A jury in a federal court in Delaware has found President Biden's son, Hunter Biden, guilty of a weapons offense for purchasing a Colt revolver in 2018 when he was addicted to crack cocaine.

The verdict, which came after three hours of deliberation, concluded a week-long trial in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware. The jury found Hunter Biden guilty on two counts of making false statements about his drug use when purchasing the gun and one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a drug user or addict.

This was the first of two cases brought against Hunter Biden by Justice Department special counsel David Weiss. The president's son also faces tax charges in a separate case scheduled to begin in September.

The gun case has its roots in a difficult period in Hunter Biden's life, when he was devastated after the death of his brother Beau in 2015 and suffered from crack and alcohol addiction.

The focus is on the Colt revolver that the president's son bought in a gun shop in Wilmington, Delaware, in October 2018. Eleven days later, it was thrown away in a trash can in front of a grocery store.

Prosecutors said Hunter Biden lied on the federal form that every gun buyer must fill out when he stated that he did not use or have an addiction to illegal drugs.

During the trial, prosecutors attempted to prove to the jury that Hunter had been using drugs at the time, that he was aware of it, and that he had lied about when he purchased the gun.

Prosecutors called 10 witnesses, including three women who once had a romantic relationship with Hunter Biden: his ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, an ex-girlfriend, Zoe Kestan, and the widow of his brother Beau, Hallie Biden.

Buhle, who was called to testify, told the jury that she discovered her then-husband's drug use when she was at her home the day after her 22nd birthday.and wedding anniversary. The couple divorced in 2017.

Kestan and Hallie Biden, who were granted immunity, told jurors they observed Hunter Biden smoking crack cocaine and buying drugs from drug dealers. Kestan also testified she was with the president's son in 2018 when he cooked his own crack from powdered cocaine.

Hallie Biden, meanwhile, testified that a romantic relationship developed between her and Hunter Biden after the death of her husband – Hunter's brother – in 2017. She told jurors that Hunter introduced her to crack and that they smoked it together – a period of her life that she found embarrassing and shameful.

Hunter's own words also played a role in the government's argument. Prosecutors played long excerpts from his memoirs in which he describes in painful detail his descent into addiction.

The government also presented the jury with text messages that Hunter Biden sent and received between 2017 and 2019 in which he discussed his drug use, drug purchasing and crack addiction.

They include two text messages he sent just days after buying the gun. In one, he says he was waiting for a dealer named Mookie, and in another, he says he was “sleeping on a car and smoking crack.”

Hunter Biden's attorney, Abbe Lowell, did not deny that Hunter Biden was addicted to crack and alcohol. However, he argued that his client completed a rehabilitation program in August 2018 and that he did not consider himself a drug user when he purchased the gun on October 12, 2018, or during the time he owned it.

In his closing argument, Lowell accused prosecutors of using sleight of hand to try to cover up what he believed to be gaps in the evidence.

Throughout the trial, Lowell tried to focus the jury's attention on a narrow time period – the 11 days that Hunter Biden possessed the gun before Hallie Biden found it and threw it in a trash can outside a Wilmington grocery store.

Lowell repeatedly pointed out that the government has numerous text messages from before and after October 2018 in which Hunter Biden talks about his drug use or even arranges to buy drugs – but not from October 2018.

Lowell attempted to portray the drug texts presented by the government from the time Hunter Biden owned the gun as nothing more than joking messages his client had sent to Hallie Biden.

Copyright: NPR

Anna Harden

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