President's son Hunter Biden convicted of lying

June 12, 2024 3:30 pm

[Source: Reuters]

President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was convicted by a jury on Tuesday of lying about his illegal drug use to buy a gun, making him the first child of a sitting U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

A 12-member jury in Wilmington, Delaware – the Bidens’ hometown – found the defendant guilty on all three counts against him.

Hunter Biden, 54, lightly nodded his head after the verdict was read but otherwise showed little reaction. He then patted his lawyer Abbe Lowell on the back and hugged another member of his legal team.

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First lady Jill Biden and Hunter’s wife Melissa held his hands as they left the courtroom.

Lowell said in a statement they would “vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available to Hunter.” Biden still faces a separate tax case in California.

Hunter Biden, seen at a Wilmington food hall after the verdict, referred Reuters reporters to his statement when asked for further comment but said, “all is good.”

The trial took place against the background of a Nov. 5 election pitting Democrat Joe Biden against his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, who was himself found guilty at a landmark New York state trial last month.

At trial, prosecutors offered an intimate view of Hunter Biden’s years of struggle with alcohol and crack cocaine abuse, which they said legally precluded him from buying a gun.

After about three hours of deliberation, the jurors found Hunter Biden falsely claimed to be free of illegal drugs when he filled out a government screening document for a Colt Cobra revolver in 2018 and then illegally possessed the weapon.

In a statement Hunter Biden said he was more grateful for the love and support he had received than he was disappointed by the guilty verdict. He said he was “blessed” to experience the gift of recovery “one day at a time.”

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika set no date for sentencing, but added it would usually be within 120 days. That would place it no later than about a month before the Nov. 5 U.S. presidential election.

Joe Biden issued a statement saying he accepted the outcome of the case and would respect the judicial process as his son considers an appeal.

Hours after the verdict, Hunter and his wife and son met the president’s helicopter when it landed at a Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle. The president embraced his son and hugged and kissed his daughter-in-law and grandchild.

Sentencing guidelines for the gun charges are 15 to 21 months, but legal experts say defendants in similar cases often get shorter sentences and are less likely to be incarcerated if they abide by the terms of their pretrial release.

In an audio interview with CNN, a juror identified only as No. 10, said: “In deliberating, we were not thinking of the sentencing and I really don’t think that Hunter belongs in jail.”