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Hunter Biden Criminal Trial Begins in Aftermath of Trump Conviction

Published: June 5, 2024
(Image: Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs the federal court with his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, on the opening day of his trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., June 3, 2024. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

On June 3, (Monday) the criminal trial of Hunter Biden kicks begins in federal court in Delaware, as President Joe Biden’s son faces gun charges in a historic case. The trial begins four days after Donald Trump became the first former U.S. president to be convicted.

The son of U.S. President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, began his federal court trial on June 3 (Monday), facing three felony charges related to illegal possession of firearms. 

It is the first time the child of a sitting U.S. president has been put on trial, and comes just days after former president Donald Trump was handed a class-E felony conviction in the state of New York. 

The younger Biden, 54, has been embroiled in controversy since late 2020, when a laptop with what appeared to be various incriminating details about his business dealings and personal life was discovered and reported. 

Hunter is being charged for his purchase and possession of a revolver in 2018, in which he has pleaded not guilty.

In addition to the firearm charges, Hunter is also facing a separate criminal case related to federal tax charges in California. 

Trump, whose sentencing is scheduled for this July, is the Republican candidate challenging Joe Biden, a Democrat, in the U.S. election coming up on Nov. 5. 

The former president, who served from 2017 to 2021, has pleaded not guilty in three other pending criminal cases.

In the case brought by U.S. Special Counsel David Weiss, last September Hunter Biden was charged with lying about his use of illegal drugs, when he bought a Colt Cobra .38-caliber revolver. 

He is also accused of illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days in October 2018. Weiss, who has investigated Hunter Biden since at least 2019, also brought at the process the tax charges.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, if Hunter Biden is convicted on all charges in the Delaware case, he faces up to 25 years in prison, though defendants generally receive shorter sentences.

Potential jurors will be screened for their ability to serve all the length of the trial, which is expected to run through the end of next week. All 12 jurors must agree he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to actually convict him.

The case is expected to center on Hunter Biden’s years-long crack cocaine use and addiction, which he has discussed publicly and which was a prominent part of his 2021 autobiography. He told Noreika at a hearing last year that he has been sober since the middle of 2019.

Prosecutors will seek to prove that Hunter knew he was lying when he ticked the box for “no” next to a question on a federal gun purchase form asking if he was an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

Prosecution lawyers revealed in court filings that they may use details that emerged from Hunter Biden’s phone and iCloud account, including photos of him smoking crack and messages with drug dealers. 

They said they may call as a witness his former wife Kathleen Buhle, who accused Hunter in their 2017 divorce proceedings of squandering money on drugs, alcohol and prostitutes.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers have indicated they may try to show he had completed a drug rehabilitation program, before purchasing the gun. 

Reuters contributed to this report.