Jury begins deliberations in the historic Hunter Biden case

Jurors in Hunter Biden’s gun case have begun deliberating and must now decide the fate of the American president’s son.

The 54-year-old is accused of lying on a federal drug use form when purchasing a gun in 2018 and of illegally possessing a firearm while he was allegedly a drug user.

For several days, prosecutors presented evidence suggesting that Biden was in a state of addiction when he bought the gun in Delaware.

His defenders say he was in recovery and therefore was not taking drugs at the time.

Biden, who did not testify, denies three related allegations.

If convicted, he could face 25 years in prison.

The BBC interviewed Biden in downtown Wilmington after the deliberations began on Monday.

“I think (today) went well,” Biden said. “But we’ll see. We have to wait for the jury to return.”

In a lengthy closing argument, prosecutor Leo Wise said that “no one is above the law” and the case “is neither more nor less important because of who the defendant is.”

“The central issue in this case is whether he was an addict and knew he was,” Wise added.

To support the government’s argument, Wise reviewed testimony from Biden’s former partners and his own recollections to show that he was an active drug user at the time he purchased the gun.

The evidence, Wise said, was “personal. They were ugly and oppressive.”

Biden’s defenders say he was in recovery at the time, so it was accurate when he indicated in the documents that he was not a drug user.

His lawyer, Abbe Lowell, repeatedly pointed out to jurors that none of the text messages or witness statements presented in court related to “actual drug use” at the time of the purchase, arguing that the prosecution’s case rests on “suspicions” and “assumptions.” . .

Lowell accused prosecutors of using evidence of drug use over many years.

As an example, Lowell said that testimony from Biden’s ex-girlfriend Zoe Kestan showed that at the time there was “no pipes, no scales, no drugs, not even alcohol.”

Members of Biden’s family sat in a row behind him outside the federal courthouse in Delaware, including First Lady Jill Biden, his stepmother and the president’s wife, Ashley Biden, his half-sister, and James and Valerie Biden, the president’s siblings.

Several people visibly bristled when prosecutors said Biden had “four years of active addiction,” shaking their heads.

For his part, Biden stared intently at jurors for long stretches as they delivered their closing arguments, occasionally taking notes and conferring with his legal team.

During a break, his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, hugged him and patted his shoulders, whispering in his ear.

The proceedings that began on Monday focused on technical issues. Biden’s lawyers wanted the 12 jurors to be told during jury deliberations that he filled out the form “in good faith.” The prosecutor’s office did not agree with this.

The discrepancy relates to the issue of whether Biden “knowingly” lied on the form.

Last week, prosecutors played excerpts from an audiobook of Biden’s memoirs, in which he talks about a four-year addiction to crack cocaine that coincided with the gun purchase.

The court also heard from Biden’s former partners, including Hallie Biden. Hallie – the widow of Biden’s brother – testified that she found “remnants” of crack along with a gun in Biden’s car.

However, during questioning, Biden confirmed that she did not see him using drugs at the time of purchasing the gun.

Throughout the trial, the defense tried to discredit the memories of prosecution witnesses.