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Jury in Hunter Biden's federal gun trial to return to deliberations Tuesday

By Chris Benson
Hunter Biden (L), son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on Thursday with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden (C), on the fourth day of trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, DE.Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
1 of 2 | Hunter Biden (L), son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on Thursday with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden (C), on the fourth day of trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, DE.Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

June 10 (UPI) -- The jury in Hunter Biden's gun trial was dismissed for the day late Monday afternoon, about an hour after deliberations began in the case involving allegations that the president's son lied on a federal background form in order to buy a handgun in 2018.

The jurors will return Tuesday at 9 a.m. EDT to resume their deliberations in an effort to reach a verdict regarding Biden's three felony charges.

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If convicted on all counts, Biden, 54, could face up to 25 years in prison and $750,000 in fines, according to court filings. However, because Biden does not have a violent past and is a first-time offender, it is possible he could get a lighter sentence.

At closing arguments, the Biden defense team called the cross-examination of Naomi Biden, Hunter's daughter, "extraordinarily cruel" as the prosecution retorted how her testimony ended up hurting her father because she as visibly uncomfortable, it was alleged, to "fill gap holes" in the prosecution's case.

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"Choices have consequences, and that's why we're here," prosecutor Derek Hines said. "We wouldn't be here in this courtroom" if Hunter Biden only smoked crack.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell argued that at the time Biden filled out the federal form he did not think that he was an addict, and that the federal government failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hunter Biden willfully broke the law.

"People sitting in the gallery are not evidence," prosecutor Leo Wise told jurors in the afternoon as he did closing arguments "You may recognize them from the news," he said, "but respectfully, none of that matters."

"Your decision can only be made on evidence," he said.

The defense rested their case Monday morning on the sixth day of the trial at J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington, Del., just south of Philadelphia as the trial of the president's son nears its end without any new witnesses being called to the stand to testify. The president's brother, James Biden, had been expected on Friday to take the stand but the defense pulled him.

Wise said Hunter Biden "knew he used crack and was addicted to crack at the relevant time period" as he called the evidence presented as "personal, ugly and overwhelming."

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Lowell indicated earlier that Hunter Biden would not testify after lingering questions on Friday after court let out about whether he would take the stand in his defense. However, prosecutors on Monday called back FBI agent Erika Jensen, a past witness, for brief rebuttal.

Lowell compared the prosecution's case to a "magician's trick" as he asked jurors to make certain Biden was not "convicted improperly."

He suggested that reasonable doubt "is not suspicion or conjecture."

"They spent hours, I mean literally hours, recounting Hunter Biden's terrible journey with alcohol and drug use," he said.

But Wise added later, "There is no evidence that anyone else possessed the gun from October 12 to October 23," he said, other than Biden.

Judge Maryellen Noreika on Monday morning had rejected another attempt by Biden's defense to add specific jury instruction language that could lean more favorably in Biden's argument.

The defense team wanted Noreika to directly instruct jurors to acquit if they can prove Hunter Biden did not know that he was an addict when he got the gun. But while she refused to do that, the judge did issue instructions to jurors to not hold it against Biden for not testifying.

Noreika said no to a request to give extra instructions to the jury about the meaning of "reasonable doubt."

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Federal prosecutors in Hunter Biden's trial over gun and drug charges rested their case Friday morning after a rather emotional testimony by his daughter, Naomi Biden, who was on the stand to answer questions about her father's past drug addiction.

She testified under oath that she never saw Hunter Biden use any illegal substances.

President Joe Biden said last week in an interview that he would not pardon his son as he maintains a distance from the trial amid a presidential campaign and former President Donald Trump's conviction of 34 felonies. But a number of friends and family members, including Hunter's wide Melissa Cohen Biden, first lady Jill Biden and half-sister Ashley were back in court Monday morning to show support.

Hunter Biden, 54, faces three federal charges after being accused of buying and owning the gun while using illegal drugs. He bought the gun and filled out the form in October 2018. He has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges.

Prosecutors are trying to prove Biden knowingly lied on a federal form about a background question regarding drug addiction.

A 2023 study portrays the reality how millions of Americans are addicted to alcohol or various types of drugs, and that millions more struggle with a family member or friend in the grip of addiction, which can spill over to everyday life.

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Defense lawyers for Biden contend he did not consider himself an addict at the time he bought the gun and thus could not have knowingly lied on that question.

Earlier in the week, the court heard from an FBI agent about Biden's well-publicized laptop along with testimony from Gordon Cleveland, the Delaware seller of the firearm in question, as well as the police officer who later found the weapon.

In addition to his daughter, Naomi, the court also heard testimony from ex-wife Kathleen Buhle, a former girlfriend and Hallie Biden, widow of his late brother Beau Biden who he later was romantically involved with, who told the court she found the gun, along with drugs, while cleaning his truck in October of 2018.

She then threw the gun in a trash can at a nearby grocery store, but later returned to try to retrieve it, Hallie Biden testified.

More information

For more on drug and alcohol addiction, head to the American Psychiatric Association.

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