Prosecution rests in Hunter Biden’s criminal gun trial

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Prosecutors are yet to decide if Hunter Biden will give evidence in his criminal gun trial.
Prosecutors are yet to decide if Hunter Biden will give evidence in his criminal gun trial.

Prosecutors have rested their case at the trial of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, accused of breaking the law when he bought a gun in 2018 and failed to mention his drug addiction on his application.

“At this time, the United States rests,” Justice Department lawyer Derek Hines told the judge on Friday.

The 54-year-old defendant’s legal team then asked the judge overseeing the case to acquit him. His lawyers said the evidence did not support a conviction.

Hunter Biden federal trial in Wilmington
US First Lady Dr Jill Biden has been attending her son Hunter Biden’s criminal gun trial. (EPA PHOTO)

US District Judge Maryellen Noreika did not immediately rule on the request which is routinely filed by defendants and often denied.

Defence lawyer Abbe Lowell said he would proceed with the defence and call at least two witnesses. He said Hunter Biden had yet to decide whether to testify. Criminal defendants rarely testify and then face prosecutors’ cross-examination.

The jury in the five-day-old first criminal trial of a US president’s child has heard witnesses including Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, former girlfriend and sister-in-law testify about his use of crack cocaine.

His sister-in-law Hallie Biden on Thursday recounted finding the gun and throwing it away out of concern for the safety of Hunter Biden and her children.

Hallie Biden
Hunter Biden’s sister-in-law Hallie Biden says she threw away his gun for his own safety. (AP PHOTO)

The defendant pleaded not guilty to three felony charges accusing him of illegally failing to disclose being a drug user when he bought the Colt Cobra revolver and of illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days.

Prosecutors said there was overwhelming evidence he was actively using crack in the weeks before and after he purchased the gun in October 2018 and that he lied by answering “no” on a government screening document when asked if he was a drug user.

Lowell has said Biden did not intend to deceive because he did not consider himself an addict when he purchased the gun. Hunter Biden told the judge at a 2023 hearing that he had been sober since 2019.

The trial follows another historic first – last week’s criminal conviction of Donald Trump, the first US president to be found guilty of a felony. Trump is the Republican challenger to Joe Biden, a Democrat, in the November 5 election.

Trump and some of his fellow Republicans in Congress have accused Democrats of pursuing that and three other criminal prosecutions to prevent him from regaining power in his rematch with the president.

Congressional Democrats have pointed to cases including the Hunter Biden prosecution as evidence that Joe Biden is not using the justice system for political or personal ends.

Joe Biden told ABC News on Thursday that he would not pardon his son if he was convicted. Asked if he would accept the trial outcome and rule out a pardon, Biden responded: “Yes”.

If Hunter Biden is convicted on all charges, he faces up to 25 years in prison, though defendants generally receive shorter sentences, according to the US Justice Department.

Reuters