Hunter Biden found guilty on all charges in gun case

The trial has been the first ever held against the son of a sitting United States president

Hunter Biden holds hands with First Lady Jill Biden and wife Melissa Cohen Biden as he departs his federal gun trial after a jury found him guilty on Tuesday.
Hunter Biden holds hands with First Lady Jill Biden and wife Melissa Cohen Biden as he departs his federal gun trial after a jury found him guilty on Tuesday.JIM LO SCALZO (EFE)
Miguel Jiménez

A jury in Wilmington (Delaware) has declared Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, guilty of the three felony counts that he had been charged with in connection with the purchase and possession of a firearm. The jurors reached a verdict after three hours of deliberation in the first trial ever held against the son of a sitting president. Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison, and the judge will set the sentence at a later date. The verdict is a blow to the Democratic president less than five months before the presidential election.

The verdict comes weeks after another jury, this time in New York, declared former president Donald Trump guilty of 34 crimes for falsifying invoices, checks and accounting records in connection with hush-money payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels in order to sway the 2016 presidential elections.

Hunter Biden bought a Colt Cobra revolver on October 12, 2018 at the StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply, a firearms store off Highway 202, north of Wilmington. He filled out a form in which he denied being an illegal user or addict of any stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance. The prosecutor went to great lengths at trial to try to prove that he was.

The president’s son was tried for three crimes: lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false claim on the federal firearms application, and possession of an illegally obtained firearm. The maximum penalties that apply are up to 10 years for the first offense, five for the second and another 10 for the third, along with fines of up to $250,000 for each of them and up to three years of supervised release. For someone with no criminal record, who has undergone rehab and did not use their weapons to commit a violent crime, prison sentences are not common.

Hunter Biden initially admitted the illegal purchase and possession of the weapon as part of a plea deal with prosecutors to be sentenced with lesser penalties for two tax crimes that were already regularized and to shelve the gun case. Prosecutors initially were ready to waive pursuing the gun purchase in exchange for him staying away from drugs for two years and giving up having a firearm in the future. The agreement, however, was derailed just as it was going to be endorsed.

Judge Maryellen Noreika, a Trump appointee, rejected it due to the different interpretation of the agreement between the prosecution and the defense and pressure from Republicans. Afterwards, he pleaded not guilty. Meanwhile, Hunter Biden has been charged with nine alleged tax crimes before California courts. Biden’s son has since made his pending payments and the case was going to be closed in accordance with the plea deal that finally derailed. That second trial is scheduled for September.

In Monday’s closing arguments in the gun case, the prosecutor told jurors to focus on the “overwhelming” evidence against Hunter Biden and not to pay attention to members of the president’s family sitting in the courtroom, including the First Lady, Jill Biden, according to the Associated Press. “All of this is not evidence,” lead prosecutor Leo J. Wise said, extending his hand and motioning for the jury to look around the room. “The people sitting in the room are not evidence.”

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell argued that prosecutors had failed to prove their allegations. He told jurors that the fact that his client has a famous last name does not change the fact that he is presumed innocent — like any other defendant — until proven guilty. “With my last breath in this case, I ask for the only verdict that will hold the prosecutors to what the law requires of them: a verdict of not guilty,” Lowell said.

Lowell said there are no witnesses to Hunter Biden’s drug use in the 11 days he had the gun. And he suggested his client was lying about where he was in text messages to his brother Beau’s widow. The prosecutor suggested that these texts show drug use and drug deals in the days after the gun was purchased.

Jill Biden, the president’s brother, James, and other family members sat in the front row of the courtroom at the final hearing. Joe Biden said last week that he would accept the jury’s verdict and ruled out a presidential pardon for his son.

Both the gun case and the tax case concern only Hunter Biden. Republicans have spent years unsuccessfully trying to find links showing that Joe Biden benefited from his son’s business dealings, commissions and other irregularities. Their harassment of the president through requests and interrogations of supposed witnesses, and the opening of an investigation for a possible impeachment, has reached a dead end after no evidence was found against President Biden. Much of the accusations centered on the testimony of an FBI informant, who said that Joe Biden had collected a $5 million commission from Ukraine. It was later proven that it was all a fabrication by a person with ties to Russian intelligence.

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