Hunter Biden found guilty on all counts in gun trial


Wilmington, DEL. – First son Hunter Biden was found guilty on all charges in his historic criminal case focused on his purchase of a firearm in 2018. 

Hunter Biden faced a trial this month that lasted more than a week and included emotional testimony from members of his family, including daughter Naomi Biden, ex-wife Kathleen Buhle and sister-in-law turned girlfriend, Hallie Biden. 

Prosecutors worked to prove that Hunter Biden lied on a federal firearm form, known as ATF Form 4473, in October 2018 when he ticked a box labeled “No” when asked if he is an unlawful user of a firearm or addicted to controlled substances. Hunter Biden purchased the gun from a store called StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply in Wilmington.

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Hunter Biden departs from federal court, Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in Wilmington, Del.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Hunter Biden faced charges of making a false statement in the purchase of a gun, making a false statement related to information required to be kept by a federally licensed gun dealer, and possession of a gun by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.

HUNTER BIDEN TRIAL ENTERS DAY 5 AFTER TESTIMONY FROM SISTER-IN-LAW-TURNED-GIRLFRIEND: ‘PANICKED’

He pleaded not guilty in the case.

Hunter Biden has a well-documented history of drug abuse, which was most notably documented in his 2021 memoir, “Beautiful Things,” which walks readers through his previous need to smoke crack cocaine every 20 minutes, how his addiction was so prolific that he referred to himself as a “crack daddy” to drug dealers, and anecdotes revolving around drug deals, such as a Washington, D.C., crack dealer Biden nicknamed “Bicycles.”

His defense team, led by attorney Abbe Lowell, did not dispute Hunter Biden’s long history with substance abuse, which also includes an addiction to alcohol, instead arguing that on the day Hunter Biden purchased the Cobra Colt .38, he did not consider himself an active drug addict, citing the first son’s sting in rehab ahead of the October 2018 purchase. 

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A court sketch depicts Naomi Biden’s testimony during Hunter Biden’s federal trial in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday, June 7, 2024. (William J. Hennessy Jr.)

Prosecutors, however, argued that Hunter Biden’s addiction to crack cocaine occurred both before, during and after the purchase of the handgun. Just one day after the gun purchase, prosecutors showed the court, Hunter Biden texted Hallie Biden that he was “waiting for a dealer named Mookie.” A day after that text, he texted that he was “sleeping on a car smoking crack on 4th Street and Rodney” in Wilmington. 

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The verdict marks an end to the whirlwind and at times emotional trial. Last week, Hunter Biden’s defense team called his daughter, Naomi Biden, to the witness stand, with the first son appearing to dab his eyes when his daughter first walked into the courtroom. 

The first granddaughter, who told the court she was “nervous” amid the testimony, told the court that she was aware of her father’s addiction to drugs but said she had never witnessed him use drugs, namely crack cocaine. 

Naomi Biden walked the court through a California trip she took in August 2018 to visit her father amid his stint at a rehab facility. She said she met with Hunter Biden, his sober coach, alongside her then-boyfriend and eventual husband, Peter Neal, for lunch at a coffee shop, noting she was proud of her father for his work on getting sober. 

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A court sketch depicts Naomi Biden’s testimony during Hunter Biden’s federal trial in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday, June 7, 2024. (William J. Hennessy Jr.)

The trial also included testimony from Hallie Biden, Beau Biden’s widow, who began a romantic relationship with her brother-in-law, Hunter Biden, in 2015. Hallie Biden, who testified under immunity, walked the jury through the rise and fall of their relationship, including when she first discovered crack at her home and had to google what the substance was because she had never seen it before. Biden first introduced her to crack, which she also smoked before becoming sober in August 2018, she told the court. 

“It was a terrible experience I went through, and I was embarrassed and ashamed. … I regret that period of my life,” Hallie Biden told the court on Thursday about her use of crack cocaine. 

The widowed mother of two was joined in court by her husband, John Hopkins Anning, whom she married the weekend prior to testifying. 

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Biden’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, also delivered short testimony toward the start of the trial. She told the court that she first discovered her then-husband’s crack cocaine addiction in 2015, when she found a crack pipe on the side porch of their home in Washington, D.C. The couple was married for more than 20 years — divorcing in 2017 — and share three adult daughters. 

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Hunter Biden’s former wife, Kathleen Buhle, departs the federal courthouse after taking the stand during the trial of Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., June 5, 2024.  (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

The first son was joined in court by family, friends and Biden family allies each day in court, most notably by his stepmother, first lady Jill Biden, as well as Biden’s sister Ashley Biden and President Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden. Hunter Biden was also joined by his second wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, to whom he was drawn to like a magnet when court broke for lunch or other pauses, often taking her hand as they left court. 

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Hunter Biden, left, arrives with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, at federal court, Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Jill Biden skipped one day of the trial to fly to Normandy, France, to join President Biden for events commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day and also notably missed her former daughter-in-law Kathleen Buhle’s testimony earlier in the week. 

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First lady Jill Biden arrives ahead of Hunter Biden’s trial in federal court, Monday, June 3, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Biden was attentive and engaged throughout his trial, taking notes, examining evidence presented in court, and surveying jurors throughout the day, most notably when they walked in and out of court for breaks. 

The trial focused on Biden’s Oct. 12, 2018 purchase of the firearm at StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply, when prosecutors argued that Biden lied on the federal form that he was not using or addicted to drugs. The firearm remained in his possession for 11 days before Hallie Biden discovered it in the console of his Ford pickup truck and threw it away in a public trashcan outside a grocery market in Wilmington. Hallie Biden testified that she regretted tossing the firearm and did so when she was in a “panicked” state and worried that Biden would use the firearm to hurt himself or others. 

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In addition to family members, the court heard from the man who found the gun in the trash can, as well as experts from the FBI and DEA who testified on bank statements showing Biden withdrawing thousands of dollars in cash, how trace amounts of cocaine were discovered on a pouch containing the gun when Hallie Biden tossed it away, the meaning behind drug slang, and even how crack cocaine is cooked. 

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Zoe Kestan, former girlfriend of Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs the federal court after testifying in Hunter Biden’s trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., June 5, 2024.  (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Amid the trial, the jury also heard extensive testimony from Biden’s ex-girlfriend, Zoe Kestan, who met the president’s son at a gentleman’s club in New York City when she was just three years out of college, and he was 48 years old. 

“He would want to smoke the second he woke up,” Kestan testified last Wednesday. 

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Kestan, who also testified under immunity, described Hunter Biden as “charming and charismatic” when they first met in 2017 after he booked a private room at the strip club for 30 minutes. Noting that after they sparked a relationship, she didn’t notice a drastic change in his behavior when he smoked crack cocaine. 

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An evidence photo presented by the prosecution shows an image of Hunter Biden on April 11, 2018. (U.S. Government Exhibit)

“I didn’t notice it. Sometimes I think that’s because I was catching feelings for him,” she told the court. 

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Kestan said their whirlwind relationship was a “distraction” for Biden, as he allegedly smoked less when they were hidden away, sometimes for days at a time, in ritzy hotel rooms such as New York City’s Four Seasons or in a bungalow at Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmont. 

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An evidence photo presented by the prosecution  shows Hunter Biden posing with Zoe Keagan on March 26, 2018. (U.S. Government Exhibit)

Accompanying Kestan’s testimony were photos depicting crack pipes in hotel rooms often sitting next to bottles of liquor or beer, a photo of a bare-chested Hunter Biden in a bubble bath with Kestan and a screenshot of a FaceTime video showing Biden’s back tattoo that resembled claw marks. The jurors were told amid Kestan’s remarks that Biden learned how to cook crack cocaine, and they were shown a photo of baking soda in one hotel room used to cook cocaine into crack. 

Witness testimony at times became tense, including when a former gun shop employee, Jason Turner, took the stand. Turner was working the day Hunter Biden purchased the gun and ran his background check. He delivered blunt answers to the defense team on Friday, appearing annoyed and defensive as Lowell peppered him with questions regarding the sequence of events surrounding when Hunter Biden picked out the firearm on Oct. 12. 

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An evidence photo presented by the prosecution  shows the gun that Hunter Biden purchased. (U.S. Government Exhibit)

“You’re not understanding how gun shop life is,” Turner told Lowell at one point, referring to how people who frequent gun shops often spend time talking sports or just visiting with employees. 

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Lowell and Turner often spoke over each other, with presiding Judge Maryellen Noreika jumping in to tell Turner to let Lowell finish his questions before answering. Noreika joked that, otherwise, the court’s stenographer gets “mad” at her for the inability to record both parties’ comments. 

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Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, and his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, arrive at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on June 6, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“Be mad at me,” Turner quipped to the court stenographer, eliciting a few chuckles in court. 

“He’s been mad at me the whole trial,” Lowell lightheartedly said in response. 

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The case marks the first in the nation’s history that a sitting president’s child was put on trial. 



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