Latest News 04-06-2024 13:02 12 Views

US v Hunter Biden: Opening arguments to begin in first son’s federal gun trial after jury seated

Opening arguments are expected to begin in United States v. Hunter Biden on Tuesday morning.

The trial for the first son began in Wilmington in the U.S. District Court for Delaware on Monday.

Jury selection lasted for a few hours, and a final jury of 12 jurors plus four alternates were seated Monday afternoon.

Judge Maryellen Noreika, who is presiding over the trial, instructed the jurors not to talk about the case during their time on the jury and to keep an open mind. 

During the selection process Monday, almost all the potential jurors said they knew someone who has been or is currently experiencing substance abuse or addiction.

Almost every potential juror also said they had heard about the Hunter Biden case in the news.

Opening arguments will be delivered by government prosecutors from Special Counsel David Weiss’ office. Hunter Biden’s defense attorney is Abbe Lowell.

The first son’s trial stems from Special Counsel David Weiss’ years-long investigation.

Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to federal gun charges in Delaware after Weiss charged him with making a false statement in the purchase of a firearm; making a false statement related to information required to be kept by a licensed firearm dealer; and one count of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance. 

With all counts combined, the total maximum prison time for the charges could be up to 25 years. Each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release. 

During the first day of the trial, Hunter Biden was joined by his stepmother, first lady Jill Biden. Monday was the first lady’s 73rd birthday.

His sister, Ashley Biden, and his wife, Melissa Cohen, also attended the trial Monday.

At the start of the proceedings, Hunter greeted his mother with a joke, according to the Washington Post.

‘Happy Birthday,’ he reportedly said. ‘I got you a special event.’

The two then reportedly laughed.

President Biden did not attend his son’s trial but put out a statement.

‘I am the President, but I am also a Dad,’ President Biden said in his statement on Monday. ‘Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today. Hunter’s resilience in the face of adversity and the strength he has brought to his recovery are inspiring to us.’

‘A lot of families have loved ones who have overcome addiction and know what we mean. As the President, I don’t and won’t comment on pending federal cases, but as a Dad, I have boundless love for my son, confidence in him, and respect for his strength. Our family has been through a lot together, and Jill and I are going to continue to be there for Hunter and our family with our love and support.’

Last year, before his son was charged, in a rare sit-down interview in May 2023, President Biden said, ‘My son has done nothing wrong. I trust him. I have faith in him, and it impacts my presidency by making me feel proud of him.’

Meanwhile, the trial began nearly a year after Noreika questioned a plea deal between prosecutors and Hunter Biden, which subsequently fell apart.

The agreement, blasted as a ‘sweetheart’ deal by congressional Republicans, appeared to convey broad immunity to the president’s son on a host of potential criminal charges.

According to an indictment, Hunter Biden bought a Colt Cobra revolver on Oct. 12, 2018, and ‘knowingly made a false and fictitious written statement, intended and likely to deceive that dealer with respect to a fact material to the lawfulness of the sale of the firearm … certifying he was not an unlawful user of, and addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, and any other controlled substance, when in fact, as he knew, that statement was false and fictitious.’ 

The indictment also charges Hunter Biden with possessing that gun, which was ‘shipped and transported in interstate commerce,’ for nearly a week despite being addicted to narcotics.

Fox News first reported in 2021 that police had responded to an incident in 2018, when a gun owned by Hunter was thrown into a trash can outside a market in Delaware.

A source with knowledge of the Oct. 23, 2018, police report told Fox News it indicated that Hallie Biden, who is the widow of President Biden’s late son, Beau, and who was in a relationship with Hunter at the time, threw a gun owned by Hunter in a dumpster behind a market near a school.

Hallie Biden may be required to testify during Hunter Biden’s trial.

A firearm transaction report reviewed by Fox News indicated Hunter purchased a gun earlier that month.

On the firearm transaction report, Hunter answered in the negative when asked if he was ‘an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.’

Hunter was discharged from the Navy in 2014 after testing positive for cocaine.

Noreika ruled ahead of the trial that Weiss’s team cannot use some salacious evidence in Hunter’s criminal trial, including references to the Navy discharge and his child support case for his out-of-wedlock daughter in Arkansas. 

Noreika also said Weiss must show Hunter Biden was addicted to drugs but not necessarily using drugs the day he purchased the gun. 

Noreika said the government may use part of Hunter Biden’s book in which he discusses his addiction to drugs.

The prosecution does not plan to bring out the entire infamous laptop containing details of Hunter Biden’s life but will introduce certain portions. Noreika ruled that Hunter Biden’s team is allowed to question aspects of the laptop in front of the jury. The laptop, which leaked in 2020 just before the presidential election, was decried as Russian disinformation by 51 former intelligence officials.

Noreika also ruled that the special counsel cannot mention Hunter Biden’s pending federal tax trial in California during the trial in Delaware, which is also part of Weiss’s investigation and scheduled for a September trial.

Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to those charges, specifically three felonies and six misdemeanors concerning $1.4 million in owed taxes that have since been paid. Weiss alleged a ‘four-year scheme’ in which the president’s son did not pay his federal income taxes from January 2017 to October 2020 while also filing false tax reports.

Judge Mark Scarsi heard arguments during a pre-trial hearing in California last month. That criminal trial was scheduled for June 20, but Hunter Biden’s attorneys requested to delay the trial.

Scarsi sided with Hunter Biden’s attorneys and moved the tax trial to Sept. 5, when jury selection will begin.

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