Jury Finds Hunter Biden Guilty on All 3 Charges in Gun Trial

Jury Finds Hunter Biden Guilty on All 3 Charges in Gun Trial

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, joined by his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, returns to court at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington, Del., on June 11, 2024. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Jacob Burg
Jacob Burg


Updated: 6/12/2024


Hunter Biden was found guilty on all charges in his gun trial on June 11, becoming the first child of a sitting president to face a federal trial and conviction.
The trial hinged on a Colt Cobra revolver that Mr. Biden bought from a gun store on Oct. 12, 2018, during a time prosecutors say he was in the throes of crack cocaine addiction.
Authorities accused Mr. Biden of lying to the federally licensed gun store by illegally claiming on his application that he was not a drug user at the time of purchase and then unlawfully possessing the gun for 11 days. Mr. Biden was facing three felonies and pled not guilty to the charges.
Jurors deliberated for an hour late in the afternoon on June 10 before resuming the following morning. In total, they spent three hours deliberating the case.
The verdict was handed down after a weeklong trial that saw testimony from Mr. Biden’s ex-wife Kathleen Buhle, ex-girlfriend Zoe Kestan, sister-in-law and ex-partner Hallie Biden, daughter Naomi Biden, expert witnesses, the gun store owner and the clerk who sold the gun to Mr. Biden, and the man who found the gun in the trash.
Prosecutors argued that testimony from Mr. Biden’s ex-romantic partners, along with text messages and memoir excerpts, proved that Mr. Biden was “knowingly” an active drug addict in October 2018 when he purchased the firearm.
The defense, on the contrary, argued that since Mr. Biden did not consider himself an addict when he purchased the gun, he did not “knowingly” lie on the gun application form when he checked “no” when asked if he was a drug addict.
In his closing arguments on June 10, prosecutor Leo Wise focused on self-admissions of drug addiction in Mr. Biden’s memoir and text messages he sent around the time of the gun purchase in which he told Hallie Biden he was either waiting for a drug dealer or actively smoking crack cocaine.
“He knew he was using drugs. That’s what the evidence shows. And he knew he was addicted to drugs. That’s what the evidence shows,” Mr. Wise said.
While the defense acknowledged Mr. Biden’s drug use, they sought to paint a picture of a man struggling but otherwise overcoming a dark period that began with the death of his brother Beau from brain cancer in 2015.
The defense argued that Mr. Biden was receiving sobriety treatment in the months leading up to the gun purchase, pointing to hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash withdrawals in 2018 as evidence.
Prosecutors, however, said there are bank statements for the rehab payments, and they were paid with a card, not cash. Prosecutors alleged that Mr. Biden was withdrawing the cash to pay for drugs, not sobriety programs.
The defense also argued that no one directly witnessed Mr. Biden using drugs around the time of the gun purchase, including the 11 days he owned the gun before Hallie Biden found it in his truck and threw it in a public garbage can.
Prosecutors contended that there was evidence of Mr. Biden using drugs right after he purchased the gun. They showed text messages that he allegedly sent Hallie Biden just days after the gun purchase.
In one message, he mentions “waiting for a dealer named Mookie,” and in a message the following day, Mr. Biden says he is smoking crack on top of a car.
While many in Mr. Biden’s family, including First Lady Jill Biden and his uncle James Biden, were present at the courthouse throughout the trial to show support, prosecutors told jurors to focus on the direct evidence in the case, not familial support.
“People sitting in the gallery are not evidence,” Mr. Wise told jurors, pointing to Mr. Biden’s family members.
Mr. Biden didn’t take the stand during the trial and Mr. Lowell asked the judge to instruct the jury not to hold it against his client for choosing not to testify.
In a statement after the guilty verdict, Mr. Lowell said they “respect the jury process,” but would “vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available to Hunter.”
Mr. Biden, in a statement, said he was “blessed” to experience the gift of recovery “one day at a time” and was more grateful for the love and support from “my family, my friends, and my community” than he was “disappointed by the outcome.”
The trial, five months out from the 2024 election, comes as Mr. Biden’s father faces a rematch with former President Donald Trump, who was also handed a guilty verdict in his Manhattan criminal trial weeks before.
President Joe Biden released a statement following the verdict, describing his love and pride for his son.
“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.
“As I also said last week, I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal. Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that,” President Biden added.
It’s also not the last criminal trial for Mr. Biden this year, who faces a September court date in California over tax evasion charges.
Mr. Biden faces up to 25 years in prison with his conviction in the federal gun case, although first-time offenders typically receive less than the maximum sentence.
The judge has not set a date for sentencing, but it usually comes within 120 days of the verdict. At the latest, that would place the hearing a month away from the November election.
It is not clear whether the judge will give Mr. Biden jail time after receiving a guilty verdict.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the year in which Hunter Biden purchased the gun. The Epoch Times regrets the error.

Jacob Burg reports on the state of Florida for The Epoch Times. He covers a variety of topics including crime, politics, science, education, wildlife, family issues, and features. He previously wrote about sports, politics, and breaking news for the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.