Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Hunter Biden found guilty on all three charges in gun case

(Al Jazeera Media Network) United States President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden has been convicted by a jury of lying about his drug use to illegally buy a gun.

A 12-member jury in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, found him guilty on all three counts against him on Tuesday, making Hunter Biden the first child of a sitting US president to be convicted of a crime.

Hunter Biden, 54, slightly nodded his head after the verdict was read but otherwise showed little reaction. He then patted his lawyer Abbe Lowell on the back and hugged another member of his legal team.

First lady Jill Biden arrived at the courthouse minutes after the jury delivered its verdict, and was not in the courtroom when it was read. Hunter Biden left the courthouse holding hands with his wife and the first lady. They did not speak to reporters, got into waiting SUVs, and drove off.

After the decision was announced, President Joe Biden said he would accept the outcome of the case and “will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal.” The president said he and the first lady are proud of Hunter, who has reportedly been sober since 2019.

“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,” the president said in a statement.

In a written statement following the verdict, Hunter Biden said he was disappointed by the outcome but grateful for the support of family and friends. His attorney said they will “continue to vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available.”

The jury deliberated for about three hours over two days.

The judge set no date for sentencing but said the timeline is usually within 120 days. That would place it no later than a month before the November 5 presidential election, in which Joe Biden is seeking re-election.

Sentencing guidelines for the gun charges are 15 to 21 months, but legal experts said defendants in similar cases often get shorter sentences and are less likely to be imprisoned if they abide by the terms of their pretrial release.

The trial followed the May 30 criminal conviction of Donald Trump, the first former US president to be found guilty of a felony and the Republican challenger to Joe Biden, a Democrat, in the November election.

The Hunter Biden case was brought by Justice Department Special Counsel David Weiss, a Trump appointee.

Commenting on the verdict, Weiss said “no one in this country is above the law.”

Weiss has also charged Hunter Biden with three felony and six misdemeanor tax offences in California, alleging he failed to pay $1.4 million in taxes from 2016 to 2019. Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to those charges. A trial is scheduled for September 5 in Los Angeles.

The Delaware trial included prosecution testimony by Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, former girlfriend, and sister-in-law, who gave firsthand accounts of his spiraling addiction in the weeks before and after he bought the gun in October 2018.

Prosecutors also showed text messages, photos, and bank records that they said showed Biden was deep in the throes of addiction when he bought the gun and knowingly broke the law by answering “no” to being a drug user on a government screening form.

Biden’s lawyers sought to show he was not using drugs when he bought the gun and did not intend to deceive because he didn’t consider himself a drug user when he filled out the form.

The defence called Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi Biden, who testified that her father seemed to be doing well when she saw him shortly before and after he bought the gun.



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