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Watch Live: Hunter Biden’s Federal Gun Charges Trial Begins

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Watch Live: Hunter Biden's Federal Gun Charges Trial Begins

President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, goes on trial this week on federal gun charges for allegedly lying about his illegal drug use when he bought a Colt revolver in the fall of 2018. 

The trial, which opens Monday in federal court in Delaware with jury selection, is the first of two cases brought by Justice Department special counsel David Weiss against the president’s son. 

The second prosecution, on tax charges, is scheduled for trial in September in California.

Hunter Biden’s  Charges and Pleas

Hunter Biden faces three counts in the gun case: two false statements for allegedly lying about his drug use when purchasing a firearm, and one for the unlawful possession of a gun by a drug user or addict. 

He has pleaded not guilty.

Political Implications

The trial is the latest courtroom drama of this election year and could have potential political implications for the 2024 presidential race. 

Although Hunter Biden is not running for public office, Republicans have long sought to use his legal troubles and foreign business dealings to damage his father politically. 

The trial provides a fresh opportunity to do so. It comes just days after former President Donald Trump, President Biden’s opponent in the 2024 election, was found guilty by a New York jury of falsifying business records related to hush money payments made to an adult film star.

In a statement Monday, President Biden emphasized his role as a father alongside his presidency. “Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today

Hunter’s resilience in the face of adversity and the strength he has brought to his recovery are inspiring to us,” he said.

Hunter Biden’s Trial

Background of Hunter Biden’s Case

The gun case is rooted in a difficult period in Hunter Biden’s life when he was coping with the death of his brother, Beau, and was addicted to crack cocaine and alcohol. 

The trial is expected to revisit deeply personal episodes for Hunter Biden and the impact they had on the Biden family.

The case centers on a Colt Cobra revolver Hunter Biden bought at a Wilmington gun store in October 2018. 

Prosecutors allege that Biden lied on a standard background check form when buying the gun by declaring that he was not using or addicted to illegal drugs. 

Less than two weeks after the purchase, Hallie Biden, who was romantically involved with Hunter Biden after Beau’s death, found the gun and disposed of it in a dumpster outside a Wilmington market. 

The gun was later found by a man collecting recyclables, who alerted law enforcement.

Prosecution’s Evidence

Prosecutors plan to call around a dozen witnesses, including Biden’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, and Hallie Biden. 

They also intend to use excerpts from Hunter Biden’s memoir, where he discusses his addiction to crack cocaine, and his text messages about drug use.

Less than a year ago, it seemed Hunter Biden would avoid trial. He had a tentative deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to tax charges and enter a diversion agreement on the gun offences. 

However, this deal fell apart during a hearing with U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika, who had concerns about the deal’s structure. Efforts to revive the deal failed.

Special Counsel Appointment and Legal Defense

Following the collapse of the plea deal, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss as special counsel, leading to the current prosecutions. 

Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, has sought to dismiss the case on various grounds, but the judge has denied these motions. 

Lowell contends that the gun charges his client faces are rarely brought under similar circumstances and accuses Weiss of succumbing to Republican pressure in pursuing the cases against Hunter Biden.

As the trial unfolds, its outcome may reverberate through the political landscape, impacting both Hunter Biden’s future and the 2024 presidential race.

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