Hunter Biden was convicted of gun crimes in a US trial

Hunter Biden on Tuesday was convicted by a Delaware jury on federal gun charges, making him the first child of a US president to be tried and convicted in a case that was a distraction to the re-election campaign. campaign of his father, Joe Biden.

The verdict came after a weeklong trial that exposed anguish and dysfunction in the Biden family after the president’s oldest son and political heir, Beau, died in 2015, and how that tragedy set off an unlikely chain of events involving a handgun. .

The ruling came less than five months ago US election and less than two weeks after his father’s White House opponent, Donald Trump, was convicted in a criminal case in New York.

“Today I am more grateful for the love and support I experienced last week from [his wife] Melissa, my family, my friends and my community, I am disappointed by this result,” Hunter Biden said in a statement after the verdict.

He could face up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000, although sentences for federal crimes tend to be less than the maximum penalty. The court has not yet set a sentencing date.

“I am the president but I am also a father. Jill and I love our son and we are so proud of the man he is today,” said. Joe Biden in a statement after the verdict on Tuesday. “So many families who have had a loved one battle addiction understand the sense of pride that comes with seeing someone you love come out the other side and become strong and resilient in the recovery process.”

The president said he would “accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers his appeal.”

The trial in Wilmington featured testimony about Hunter’s romantic relationship with his widowed sister-in-law, Hallie, after Beau’s death, and their struggles with crack cocaine.

Jurors began deliberating Monday afternoon and reached their verdict shortly after they returned to court Tuesday morning. Biden was convicted on all three charges he faced.

Abbe Lowell, Biden’s attorney, said in a statement that “we are naturally disappointed by today’s ruling” and that “we will continue to vigorously pursue all legal challenges to Hunter”.

The Trump campaign said in a statement after the verdict that “the trial is nothing more than a distraction from the true crimes of the Biden Crime Family.”

The problem is whether Hunter lied about his drug use when he purchased a .38-caliber Colt Cobra revolver on October 12, 2018, from a dealer in Wilmington while waiting for his iPhone to be serviced at a store. nearby store. On a federal background check, Hunter selected “no” when asked if he used or was addicted to controlled substances.

Prosecutors said it was a lie and presented evidence including text messages sent to dealers named “Mookie” and “Q,” statements from an ex-girlfriend and photos of Hunter drug scales. In a text message to Hallie, two days after the gun purchase, Hunter said he was “sitting in a car smoking.”

They also quoted extensively from Hunter’s 2021 memoir, beautiful things, in which he chronicles his spiral into crack addiction following Beau’s death.

“If this trial does not prove that Hunter Biden is a addicted to crack, then no one is addicted to crack or uses drugs.”

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Lowell did not deny that his client had abused drugs before and after purchasing the gun. But he argued that the government had no evidence that Hunter was using drugs at the time in question or that he intentionally lied on a background check.

In a speech that lasted just under 90 minutes, Lowell repeatedly dismissed the incident as “conjecture and suspicion” and “a magician’s trick.”

As both sides made their closing arguments, a group of Biden family members watched, including first lady Jill Biden, Hunter’s sister Ashley and his aunt, Valerie.

The case is a political headache for the White House, revealing some of the family’s most harrowing and uncomfortable details as the president tries to energize a sluggish election campaign. There may be more to come as his son faces a second federal criminal trial on tax evasion charges in California in September.

Republicans have sought to use the case as a way to distract from the legal troubles of Trump, who recently became the first former president to be convicted of paying hush money to a former porn actress.

Joe Biden has made public statements in support of Hunter, and family and friends have rallied around him. But he said that he would not forgive his son.

One of the most emotional moments in the trial was Hallie Biden’s testimony, recounting her tumultuous romantic relationship with Hunter and their erratic efforts to get sober. She found the gun in his pickup 12 days after he bought it and in a panic threw it in the trash at a local grocery store. Police eventually recovered it from a man picking up trash.

Without that action, Lowell suggested, Hunter might never have been charged. “On October 23, Hallie did something incredibly stupid,” he said, but admitted that “she probably did it out of love.”

Additional reporting by Stefania Palma and Lauren Fedor in Washington

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