Hunter Biden trial: Opening statements focus on federal gun laws, addiction

WILMINGTON, Del. — Hunter Biden, the president’s son, appeared in court Tuesday as a prosecutor and his attorney offered opening statements in his federal gun trial.

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Biden is accused of lying on a federal form about his drug addiction, making false representations to a firearms dealer and illegally having a Colt Cobra 38 special revolver in his possession for 11 days in October 2018. At the time of the purchase, Biden was grappling with an addiction to crack cocaine, according to his 2021 memoir “Beautiful Things.”

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In court on Tuesday, prosecutor Derek Hinds played excerpts from the audiobook of Biden’s memoir in which he talked about his struggle with addiction, The Washington Post reported.

“We would not be here today if he was just a drug addict,” Hines said, according to the newspaper. “The defendant’s choice to buy that gun is why we’re here.”

He added that Biden knew he was addicted to crack cocaine at the time he bought the gun.

“We’re here because of the defendant’s lies and choices,” Hines said, according to CNN. “No one is above the law. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your name is.”

Abbe Lowell, Biden’s attorney, suggested that his client didn’t consider himself a drug addict at the time of the gun purchase, The Associated Press reported. Instead, he saw himself as a person who had beaten his addiction, according to the Post.

Lowell said prosecutors were trying to convict Biden on conduct he took before and after he had the gun, the newspaper reported. The attorney added that jurors should consider Biden’s state of mind in 2018 and not in 2021, when he wrote “Beautiful Things.”

“(Prosecutors) have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hunter knowingly violated the law,” he said, according to CNN.

First lady Jill Biden was in court to hear opening statements Tuesday, as was Hunter Biden’s sister, Ashley, the AP reported. The two were also in court Monday, when a jury was seated to hear the evidence.

It was not immediately clear how long Hunter Biden’s trial might last. Among the witnesses expected to be called are the dealer who sold Hunter Biden the firearm, his ex-wife Kathleen Buhle, a former girlfriend and Hallie Biden, who had a relationship with Hunter Biden following the death of her husband, Beau Biden, in 2015, according to NBC News.

Hunter Biden is also facing charges in California, where he is accused of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes.

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