Hunter Biden found guilty of lying about drug use to buy gun

Jurors deliberate for less than four hours before returning verdict

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US President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was convicted on Tuesday of lying about his drug use to buy a gun illegally.

Jurors deliberated for less than four hours in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware before finding him guilty on all of the three counts he faced, making Hunter Biden the first child of a sitting US president to be convicted of a crime.

Following the verdict, the President issued a statement in which he said he was "proud of the man" his son has become.

"So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out on the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery," the statement said.

"I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal."

The President last week ruled out issuing a pardon for his son.

The conviction comes after a long-running Justice Department investigation that began in 2018.

Hunter Biden had pleaded not guilty to felony charges that include lying about his addiction when he filled out a government screening document for a Colt Cobra revolver, and illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors used testimony from former romantic partners, personal text messages and photos of Biden with drug paraphernalia to make the case that he had broken the law.

The defence, meanwhile, had urged the jury to acquit Biden of the charges as he did not consider himself to be an addict when he purchased the gun.

Following his conviction, Hunter Biden said in a statement that he was "more grateful today for the love and support I experienced this last week from Melissa, my family, my friends and my community than I am disappointed by the outcome" of the case.

"Recovery is possible by the grace of God, and I am blessed to experience that gift one day at a time."

Abbe Lowell, Biden's lawyer, said that the legal team will "continue to vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available".

Biden left the courthouse holding hands with his mother, first lady Jill Biden, and his wife, Melissa. They did not speak to reporters, got into waiting SUVs and drove off.

Ms Biden, who attended several days of the trial, had not yet arrived at the courthouse when the verdict was read.

The sentencing guidelines for the gun-related charges against Biden are 15 to 21 months in jail, though technically he could face up to 25 years.

Legal experts say, however, that offenders in similar cases often receive shorter sentences and are less likely to be incarcerated if they abide by the terms of their pretrial release.

The judge set no date for sentencing but added the timetable is usually within 120 days, placing it no later than a month before the November 5 US presidential election.

The trial followed the criminal conviction on May 30 of Donald Trump, the first former US president to be found guilty of a felony and the Republican challenger to the current President in the election on November 5.

Trump, convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up an alleged affair with an adult film actress, has accused Democrats of pursuing that case and three other criminal prosecutions to prevent him from regaining power in his rematch with Mr Biden.

In a statement to CNN, the Trump campaign said in response to the verdict: “This trial has been nothing more than a distraction from the real crimes of the Biden Crime Family, which has raked in tens of millions of dollars from China, Russia and Ukraine.

"Crooked Joe Biden’s reign over the Biden Family Criminal Empire is all coming to an end on November 5th, and never again will a Biden sell government access for personal profit. As for Hunter, we wish him well in his recovery and legal affairs.”

Biden also faces a trial, scheduled for September, on felony charges that he failed to pay at least $1.4 million in taxes over four years.

Both cases have been overseen by special counsel David Weiss, who previously served as the Trump-appointed US attorney in Delaware.

Mr Weiss and his team have denied allegations that the cases against Biden are politically motivated.

"No one in this country is above the law. Everyone must be accountable for their actions, even this defender," he told reporters.

"However, Hunter Biden should be no more accountable than any other citizen convicted of this same conduct."

Updated: June 11, 2024, 5:58 PM