Jury selected in Hunter Biden’s gun trial: What to know

Jury selected in Hunter Biden’s gun trial: What to know

Twelve jurors and four alternates were selected in the first of what could be two federal criminal trials involving Hunter Biden, the son of President Biden, according to The Associated Press.

The panel of Delaware residents was selected after just one day, where prospective jurors were questioned over their views on gun rights, political prosecutions and whether the defendant’s father could influence their ability to be fair and impartial.

Hunter Biden will stand trial on federal gun charges involving his purchase of a firearm in 2018. Federal prosecutors contend the president’s son made false statements regarding his use of illegal drugs when obtaining the gun and then unlawfully possessed it for 11 days.

He has pleaded not guilty, and Monday kicked off the first-ever criminal trial of a sitting U.S. president’s child.

Here’s what to expect as Hunter Biden’s trial gets underway.

Opening statements expected Tuesday

Attorneys for Hunter Biden and the Justice Department could give their opening statements as soon as Tuesday, where both sides will present jurors with their theory of the case.

Prosecutors are expected to claim that Hunter Biden lied when he checked “no” on a federal gun purchase form questioning whether he was “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”

But Hunter Biden’s attorneys have suggested that the president’s son may have thought he was telling the truth, contending that he did not view himself as a drug addict when filling out the form.

“The issue here is Mr. Biden’s understanding of the question, which asks in the present tense if he ‘is’ a user or addict,” his attorney, Abbe Lowell, wrote in court filings. “The terms ‘user’ or ‘addict’ are not defined on the form and were not explained to him.

“Someone, like Mr. Biden who had just completed an 11-day rehabilitation program and lived with a sober companion after that, could surely believe he was not a present tense user or addict,” he continued.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

Who could testify

Prosecutors’ witness list includes three women who were romantically involved with Hunter Biden and are expected to testify about his drug use. They are not identified by name in court filings, but descriptions make some of their identities clear.

The first woman is Kathleen Buhle, Hunter Biden’s ex-wife who has three kids with the defendant.

The second is Hallie Biden, the widow of Beau Biden, Hunter’s late brother who died of brain cancer. Hallie, who had been romantically involved with Hunter after Beau’s death, trashed the revolver at the center of the case in a Wilmington supermarket trash can when Hunter Biden was staying at her home.

The other woman’s identity remains unclear.

Beyond the three women, prosecutors revealed in court papers they intend to call the gun shop employee who sold the revolver and watched Hunter Biden fill out the background check form.

The list also includes a former Delaware police officer who recovered the firearm and a brown leather pouch from the trash can.

Prosecutors indicated they plan to call two experts: a chemist who will opine a powdery substance allegedly found on the pouch was cocaine, and a drug enforcement officer who will opine about “coded messages” that Hunter Biden sent.

Court filings show that prosecutors also expect to also rely on Hunter Biden’s text messages, bank records and excerpts from his memoir and audiobook.

What are the charges

The president’s son faces three felony charges in the case.

Hunter Biden faces two charges that accuse him of lying on a federal background check form when he purchased a Colt Cobra .38 special revolver from StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply, a gun store located in Wilmington, Del., on Oct. 12, 2018.

The defendant marked a box indicating he was not an unlawful user of a controlled substance or an addict, and the government alleges he was both at the time, citing use of crack cocaine.

The third and final charge accuses Hunter Biden of unlawfully possessing the firearm. He possessed it for 11 days, until the gun was discarded in a supermarket trash can.

If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum of 25 years imprisonment and $750,000 in fines.

Special counsel David Weiss’s charges are separate from Hunter Biden’s other case in California, where he faces nine charges for allegedly failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes and filing false returns.

The president is not accused of wrongdoing in either case.

Biden family signals support

Several members of the Biden family showed up at the Delaware courthouse where the first day of Hunter Biden’s trial was underway.

First lady Jill Biden arrived Monday morning, and Hunter Biden’s sister, Ashley Biden, was also in attendance.

Though President Biden did not appear at the Delaware courthouse — and said he would not comment on the federal trial — he issued a rare statement of support.

“I am the President, but I am also a Dad,” the president said in the statement. “Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today.”

The president is expected to depart for a foreign trip to Europe to mark D-Day in France this week. He is then headed to Italy next week for the Group of Seven summit, so he is likely to miss the bulk of his son’s trial in the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed.

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