Hunter Biden gun trial updates: Day 1 of jury deliberations ends with no verdict


(WILMINGTON, Del.) — President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden is on trial in Delaware on three felony charges related to his efforts to obtain a firearm in 2018 while allegedly addicted to drugs.

The younger Biden, who pleaded not guilty last October after being indicted by special counsel David Weiss, has denied the charges. The son of a sitting president has never before faced a criminal trial.

The trial comes on the heels of former President Donald Trump’s conviction on felony charges related to a 2016 hush money payment made to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

The frequency of updates may be limited due to federal court restrictions.

Jun 10, 4:44 PM
Day 1 of jury deliberations ends with no verdict

The jurors in Hunter Biden’s federal gun trial have been dismissed for the day, after deliberating for one hour with no verdict.

Hunter Biden left the courthouse after the jury was dismissed.

The jurors will be back tomorrow at 9 a.m. ET to resume their deliberations.

Jun 10, 3:44 PM
Jury begins deliberations

The jury has begun deliberations on the three felony counts Hunter Biden faces in his federal gun case.

Prior to the jury getting the case, the government rebutted defense attorney Abbe Lowell’s closing argument by asserting again that Hunter Biden was a drug addict when he bought the gun at the center of the case and that he knew it — beyond a reasonable doubt.

There are “seven ways to Sunday” to show Hunter Biden was an addict and it was “preposterous” that he — a “Yale-educated lawyer” — didn’t know he was buying a gun while knowingly addicted, prosecutor Derek Hines argued.

Hines rebutted Lowell’s characterization of the government’s treatment of Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi Biden as “cruel.”

Naomi Biden was “completely uncomfortable” because “she couldn’t vouch for the defendant’s sobriety,” Hines argued.

Hines closed by saying that if the jury doesn’t determine Hunter Biden is a crack addict based on the evidence in the case, “then no one is a crack addict of unlawful use.”

Judge Maryellen Noreika then delivered the final portion of her instructions and sent jurors to begin their deliberations.

The judge indicated that she would not keep jurors past 4:30 or 4:45 p.m. ET today.

Jun 10, 3:00 PM
Defense calls government’s case ‘conjecture and suspicion’

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell, in his closing argument, urged jurors to dispense with the government’s “conjecture and suspicion” and find his client not guilty on all three counts.

“We have had Hunter’s life in our hands” until now, Lowell said, referring to his legal team. “And now we have to give it to you.”

Lowell repeatedly referred to prosecutors’ case as a “magicians’ trick” — to “watch this hand and pay no attention to that one,” as he said — arguing that prosecutors failed to “fill in the gaps” about Hunter Biden’s drug use around the time of his firearm purchase “because they don’t have the proof.”

Lowell also referred to prosecutors’ strategy of showing Hunter Biden’s pattern of drug use as an “accordion,” meant to “compress” the timeline and make it seem to jurors that he was actively using drugs in October 2018, when he said on a government form that he was not addicted to drugs in order to purchase a Colt handgun.

The defense attorney also attacked some of the tactics prosecutors used, calling their treatment of Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi Biden “extraordinarily cruel” and saying that many of their questions and evidence were introduced with the intention of “embarrassing Hunter.”

He also asked jurors to recall gaps in the recollections of Hunter Biden’s then-girlfriend Hallie Biden, and suggested they should remember the immunity agreement she struck with prosecutors for her testimony.

“These are serious charges that will change Hunter’s life,” he said of the three felony charges the president’s son faces, adding that “it’s time to end this case.”

Following Lowell’s closing, the government was scheduled to have a short rebuttal, at which point the judge was to finish her jury instructions before the jury gets the case.

Jun 10, 1:40 PM
Evidence supports ‘only one verdict’ prosecutor tells jury

Prosecutor Leo Wise used witness testimony and Hunter Biden’s own words from his memoir and text messages to argue that the president’s son “knew exactly what he was doing” when prosecutors say he falsely claimed he was not addicted to drugs in order to purchase a Colt handgun in 2018.

“Take the defendant’s word for it,” Wise said as he showed the jury excerpts from Hunter Biden’s book that described his drug use and addiction.

Wise, showing the jurors a side-by-side comparison of testimony regarding his truck from his daughter Naomi Biden and then-girlfriend Hallie Biden, said their testimony is “circumstantial evidence ” that shows “the defendant used crack in the truck” days after purchasing the firearm.

Naomi Biden testified that she returned the truck to her father “clean” on Oct. 19, 2018, and Hallie Biden testified that a few days later she found Hunter Biden’s gun in the vehicle along with drug paraphernalia and drug remnants.

Wise also showed the jury a calendar of the month of October 2018 that showed the cash withdrawals made by Hunter Biden. “None of the cash was for rehab,” Wise said.

The evidence, Wise told jurors in conclusion, “supports only one verdict.”

Hunter Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell then began his closing arguments.

Jun 10, 1:23 PM
Hunter Biden ‘knew he was using drugs,’ prosecutor argues

Prosecutor Leo Wise, continuing his closing argument, laid out his case for conviction by telling jurors that the evidence in the case was “ugly” but “necessary” to establish Hunter Biden’s drug use during the time in question — as well as in the months before and after.

“He knew he was using drugs,” Wise told the jury, a reference to the standard the jury must reach for conviction — that Hunter Biden had to “knowingly” lie on the gun-purchase form on which he said he was not addicted to drugs.

“That’s what the evidence shows,” Wise said.

Wise emphasized repeatedly to the jury that the government is not required to show specifically that Hunter used drugs when he owned the gun from the Oct. 12-23, 2018 — but rather they must “establish that pattern.”

To that end, Wise referenced the text messages spanning back to 2015 in which Hunter Biden appeared to purchase drugs or reference his addiction, as well as the testimony from his ex-wife Kathleen Buhle and ex-girlfriend Hallie Biden, who said they either found his drug paraphernalia, saw him use drugs, or talked to him about it.

Wise also pointed to the testimony of ex-girlfriend Zoe Kestan, who testified she saw Hunter Biden using drugs in late September 2018 — just two weeks before he bought the gun.

“You can convict on that alone,” Wise told the jury.

Wise also referenced Hunter Biden’s memoir, “Beautiful Things,” saying it was a “searingly painful” but “honest” description of himself and his addiction.

The evidence showed Hunter Biden “habitually used,” Wise said.

Jun 10, 12:34 PM
‘None of that matters’ prosecutor says of large Biden contingent

Prosecutor Leo Wise began his closing argument by referencing the many Biden family members packed into the courtroom galley today.

“All of this is not evidence,” Wise said to the jury as he gestured toward the gallery where First lady Jill Biden and other members of the Biden family are jammed into the front three rows.

“You may recognize them from the news, from the community,” Wise told them. “None of that matters.”

Wise then reiterated the government’s opening remarks that no one is above the law, telling the jury that the case is no different from others — regardless “of who the defendant is.”

Jun 10, 12:14 PM
Biden family members jam into courtroom

Hunter Biden came to court today with what appears to be the largest number of friends and family members yet to appear at his trial.

The first row of the gallery was so packed with members of the Biden family this morning that the security guard on the end nearly fell off. The entire first three rows and some of the fourth row were filled with friends and family members — about 25 in total.

First Lady Jill Biden, her daughter Ashley Biden, and Hunter Biden’s wife Melissa Cohen Biden sat together in the front row, with Ashley Biden at one point comforting the others by putting her arm around her mother and then patting Melissa Biden’s back.

Through the morning’s lengthy sidebars and delays, Hunter Biden repeatedly engaged with them, chatting with them and exchanging hugs when he could.

When the defense rested its case, he stood up and hugged his uncle James Biden in the front row and appeared to say, “Love you.”

After another break, he returned to the courtroom holding the first lady’s hand.

Jun 10, 11:54 AM
Jury told not to judge Hunter Biden for not testifying

Judge Maryellen Noreika, in her initial instructions to jurors, explained how they are to apply the law to the facts of the case for the three criminal counts Hunter Biden faces.

“You must not attach any significance to the fact that the defendant did not testify,” she read aloud in the courtroom, after the defense decided not to call Hunter Biden to the stand.

The judge defined “knowingly,” the central term by which jurors must determine if Hunter Biden bought the gun at the center of the case “knowing” he was an addict or user of drugs, after he stated on the gun-purchase form that he was not.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin at 12:05 p.m. ET, after which the judge will give the jury her final instructions and their deliberations will begin.

Jun 10, 11:36 AM
Closing arguments up next after Hunter Biden does not testify

Closing arguments will begin at about noon ET after Hunter Biden chose not to testify in his federal gun case.

The defense rested without him taking the stand, after which prosecutors presented a brief rebuttal case, then the judge gave the jury their initial instructions.

Jun 10, 11:17 AM
Judge reads initial jury instructions

Following the prosecution’s rebuttal case, the judge read the jury their initial instructions.

Court is then expected to break for lunch, with closing arguments currently scheduled for the afternoon.

The judge will then give the jury their final instructions before they begin deliberations.

Jun 10, 11:05 AM
Prosecutors rest rebuttal case

The government rested its rebuttal case after a brief cross-examination of FBI special agent Erika Jensen, who testified about location and text message data relevant to the case.

Attorneys then gathered for another sidebar conference.

Jun 10, 10:54 AM
FBI witness returns to witness stand

After a lengthy sidebar, overflow room cameras suddenly turned on to show prosecutors questioning a previous witness, FBI agent Erika Jensen, suggesting that the defense has rested its case and prosecutors are introducing a rebuttal case before the trial moves on to closing arguments.

If so, that would indicate that Hunter Biden did not testify in his own defense.

Jun 10, 8:40 AM
Judge reviews motions regarding jury instructions

This morning’s proceedings are underway.

Judge Maryellen Noreika began by reviewing with both parties motions by the defense to change proposed jury instructions.

The jury is expected to be brought back into court at 9 a.m. ET.

Jun 10, 8:14 AM
Hunter Biden arrives at courthouse

Hunter Biden has arrived at the courthouse for Day 6 of his federal gun trial, accompanied by his wife Melissa Cohen Biden.

First lady Jill Biden arrived shortly afterward.

President Joe Biden’s brother James Biden and sister Valerie Biden also arrived.

The two waited outside until the court opened at 8 a.m. ET.

Jun 10, 7:17 AM
The big question: Will Hunter Biden take the stand this morning?

As the second week of Hunter Biden’s gun trial gets underway this morning, defense attorneys will confront their most consequential decision: whether to put their client on the witness stand.

To allow Hunter Biden to testify in his own defense would carry myriad risks, as the president’s son would likely face a grueling cross-examination from a prosecution team that has shows itself adept at eliciting testimony supporting their central contention in the case — that Hunter Biden was addicted to drugs at the time he purchased the handgun at heart of the case.

Jurors witnessed that on Friday, when Naomi Biden, the 30-year-old daughter of Hunter Biden, struggled to explain text messages she sent her father in October 2018 after he had purchased the gun — in which she seemed to express concern about his addiction, despite testifying moments earlier about how “great” her father seemed at the time.

If Hunter Biden decides not to take the stand, jurors could possibly have the case by the end of the day, after closing arguments and jury instructions.

Court is scheduled to get underway earlier than usual today, at 8:15 a.m. E.T.

Jun 07, 2:07 PM
Defense to decide if Hunter takes stand as court breaks for weekend

In an unexpected move, court recessed for the day following the lunch break, with the defense telling the judge they are “down to that last decision” — suggesting that they will determine over the weekend if Hunter Biden takes the stand Monday in his own defense.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell told the court the defense decided not to call one of its expert witnesses.

It also appears defense attorneys reversed course on testimony from Hunter Biden’s uncle James Biden, who was already at the courthouse and who Lowell had earlier indicated would be testifying. James Biden was subsequently seen leaving the building.

Prosecutors said they are “still considering” whether they will put on a rebuttal case after the defense rests.

Judge Maryellen Noreika dismissed the jury, telling them to “enjoy a long weekend.”

“We are starting to wrap the evidence in this case,” she said.

The parties are scheduled to be back in court Monday at 8:15 a.m. ET.

Jun 07, 1:19 PM
Naomi Biden says her dad ‘seemed great’ after gun buy

Naomi Biden, the 30-year-old daughter of Hunter Biden, testified that her father “seemed great, he seemed hopeful” when she saw him on Oct. 18 or 19, 2018, in New York, where she was returning his vehicle to him — several days after he purchased the gun at the center of the case and just days before his then-girlfriend Hallie Biden discovered and discarded it.

Earlier, in August, Naomi Biden described visiting him in Los Angeles, where he was in a drug rehab program. “He seemed the clearest I’d seen him since my uncle died,” she said, referring to Hunter Biden’s brother Beau Biden.

It was important testimony for the defense in their attempt to show that Hunter Biden was not using drugs around the time of the gun purchase.

Defense counsel Abbe Lowell asked Naomi Biden about the car trip she and her then-boyfriend took from Washington, D.C., to New York in mid-October 2018 to return her father’s truck — a Ford Raptor — to him.

On cross-examination, prosecutor Leo Wise asked Naomi Biden if she ever witnessed her father using drugs — she said she had not — or whether she would know if he was using drugs based on his behavior.

“I guess not,” she said.

Wise also established that Naomi Biden did not leave any drugs or drug residue in the vehicle before returning it to her father — suggesting that the drug residue and paraphernalia Hallie Biden observed in the car days later arrived there after Hunter Biden retrieved the truck.

Jurors also saw some emotional text messages between Naomi Biden and her father during that mid-October timeframe.

“I’m really sad, I can’t take this,” she wrote her father, adding that “I really want to hang out with you.”

“I’m sorry I’ve been so unreachable,” Hunter Biden replied. “It’s not fair to you.”

On the stand, Naomi Biden spoke quietly, at one point saying, “Sorry, I’m nervous.” Her husband, Peter Neal, sat in the gallery next to first lady Jill Biden, and had his hand over his mouth for much of the testimony.

Hunter Biden appeared emotional and was seen at times touching his face during her testimony.

When her testimony concluded, she embraced her father before leaving the courtroom, and court recessed for lunch.

Jun 07, 12:22 PM
Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi takes the stand

Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi took the stand as the defense’s third witness.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.