Hunter Biden guilty of all charges in federal gun trial

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By Bernd Debusmann & Madeline HalpertBBC News in Delaware court & New York

BBC reporter describes Hunter Biden’s reaction in court as verdict is read

Hunter Biden has been found guilty on all three charges in his federal gun trial, becoming the first son of a sitting US president to be criminally convicted.

Prosecutors said Biden, 54, lied about his drug use on a federal form when he bought a handgun in 2018.

Biden pleaded not guilty, claiming he was in recovery from drug addiction at the time and was therefore truthful on the gun application form.

A panel of 12 Delaware jurors reached their verdict after about three hours of deliberations.

Biden showed little emotion as he learned his fate on Tuesday. He stared ahead with arms folded before turning around to hug some of the associates on his legal team.

He faced two charges related to lying about his drug use on a federal background check, and one for possessing a gun while addicted to or using drugs.

Once court was adjourned, he kissed and embraced his wife before walking out of the room, escorted by Secret Service agents.

Biden said in a statement that he was “disappointed by the outcome”, but “grateful today for the love and support I experienced this last week from Melissa, my family, my friends, and my community”.

Several members of Biden’s family had supported him in court throughout the trial. However, only two were present for sentencing: his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, and James Biden, his uncle, and US President Joe Biden’s brother.

US First Lady Jill Biden arrived in the lobby of the court minutes after the verdict was read, and left with her step-son past throngs of photographers and journalists.

Experts say it is possible Hunter Biden could face prison time – although it would be highly unlikely for him to receive the maximum sentence of 25 years.

The judge did not set a date for sentencing, but noted that it would usually take place within 120 days of conviction.

Abbe Lowell, the defence lawyer, said he would “vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available to Hunter”.

Speaking after the conviction, special counsel David Weiss said the case was not about addiction, but about “the illegal choices the defendant made” while in the throes of addiction – echoing the words of the trial prosecutors.

“No-one in this country is above the law,” Mr Weiss said. “Everyone must be accountable for their actions, even this defendant.”

New Yorkers react to Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict

President Biden was meanwhile on Tuesday addressing a gun control conference in Washington DC.

Following that event, he headed to Wilmington. After landing he greeted his son, daughter-in-law, Mrs Cohen Biden, and their child, Beau, on the tarmac.

The president said after the verdict that he was “so proud” of his son for his efforts to beat his addictions.

“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,” he said.

Before the verdict, the president said he would not pardon his son if convicted.

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

Getty President Joe Biden hugs his son outside a carGetty

The three gun charges all relate to Biden’s purchase of a Colt Cobra Special revolver at a Delaware gun store in October 2018, which he kept for about 11 days.

The gun was later discovered in his truck and discarded by his then-girlfriend Hallie Biden – the widow of his brother Beau – in a rubbish bin outside a shop.

Biden has been candid in the past about his “full-blown addiction” to crack cocaine, including in his memoir.

Jurors also heard from his ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, and a former girlfriend, Zoe Kestan, who described long crack binges at luxury hotels across the country.

EPA Hunter Biden with First Lady Jill Biden and wife Melissa CohenEPA

Hunter Biden with Jill Biden (left) and Melissa Cohen Biden, leaving court on Tuesday

Biden’s conviction comes at a politically fraught time for his father, who is in a tight race with Donald Trump for re-election this November.

Mr Trump, the former US president who was last month convicted of falsifying business records in New York City, rejected any suggestion that the trial of his political opponent’s son showed the US justice system to be politically impartial.

“This trial has been nothing more than a distraction from the real crimes of the Biden Crime Family,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said in a statement.

But the conviction was welcomed by other Republicans who interviewed Hunter Biden as a part of their impeachment probe into his father.

“Today’s verdict is a step toward accountability,” House Oversight Chairman James Comer said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

In court, both Mr Lowell and the prosecutors repeatedly told jurors that Biden’s family should have no bearing on their decision, even with the first lady and Secret Service officers clearly visible from the jury box.

Speaking to the BBC hours after the verdict, one of the jurors – known as No 10 – said that he and others on the panel took those messages to heart.

“I was never thinking of President Joe Biden” during the trial, he said. “Even though Mrs Biden was there and I knew that was his wife. Somehow, you block that out of your mind.”

“His dad wasn’t on trial,” he said. “Out of all the jurors, nobody mentioned anything about political motivations.”

Biden’s legal troubles will not end after Tuesday’s verdict. He also been charged in a separate criminal case with evading $1.4m (£1.1m) in taxes between 2016-19 while spending millions on drugs, escorts and luxury cars.

That case will go to trial in September.

Judge says Hunter ‘treated more harshly’ for being a Biden



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