• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Hunter Biden guilty of federal gun charges in historic verdict

The 54-year-old son of US president Joe Biden was convicted on all three of the felony counts

Joe Biden talks with his son Hunter Biden upon arrival at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, on June 11, 2024. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

A jury found Hunter Biden guilty on Tuesday (11) of federal gun charges in a historic first criminal prosecution of the child of a sitting US president.

The 54-year-old son of president Joe Biden was convicted on all three of the felony counts stemming from his 2018 purchase of a handgun while addicted to crack cocaine.

The verdict comes as his father is seeking reelection, and the Democratic president changed his schedule to fly to Wilmington, Delaware, the family hometown where the trial was held.

Hunter Biden was waiting on the tarmac when Marine One landed at Delaware Air National Guard Base and he was given a warm hug by his 81-year-old father before they left in a motorcade.

The president expressed his “love and support” for his son in a statement released immediately after the conviction.

“I am the President, but I am also a Dad,” Biden said. “So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery.

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

The 12-member jury deliberated for about three hours over two days before reaching a verdict.

Hunter Biden did not take the stand during the one-week trial, which First Lady Jill Biden attended several days.

He could face up to 25 years in prison, although as a first-time offender jail time is unlikely. A date was not set for sentencing but it is expected to take place in the next few months.

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Joe Biden hugs his son Hunter Biden. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Special counsel David Weiss, who brought the case against Hunter Biden, addressed reporters following the verdict.

“No one in this country is above the law,” Weiss said. “Everyone must be accountable for their actions, even this defendant.”

Weiss said the case was “not just about addiction.”

“This case was about the illegal choices the defendant made while in the throes of addiction, his choice to lie on a government form when he bought a gun, and the choice to then possess that gun,” Weiss said.

The trial outcome comes less than two weeks after the conviction on business fraud charges of Donald Trump, Biden’s likely Republican opponent in the November presidential election.

The proceedings, along with another case in which Hunter Biden faces tax evasion charges in California, have complicated Democrats’ efforts to keep the election focus on Trump, the first former president convicted of a crime.

In addition to being a political distraction, Hunter Biden’s legal woes have reopened painful emotional wounds for the family from his time as a drug addict.

His brother Beau died from cancer in 2015, and his sister Naomi died as an infant in a 1972 car crash that also killed their mother, Neilia, Joe Biden’s first wife.

The Yale-trained lawyer and lobbyist-turned-artist was charged with falsely stating when buying a .38 caliber revolver in 2018 that he was not using drugs illegally.

He was also charged with illegal possession of the firearm, which he had for just 11 days in October of that year.

The president’s son, who has written unsparingly about his addiction, claimed that at the time he bought the revolver he did not consider himself to be an addict.

He has long been the target of hard-right Republicans, and Trump allies have investigated him at length in Congress on allegations of corruption and influence-peddling. No charges have ever been brought.

Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China and Ukraine have also formed the basis for attempts by Republican lawmakers to initiate impeachment proceedings against his father. Those efforts too have gone nowhere.

The Trump campaign referenced the unsubstantiated allegations against the Biden family in a reaction to Hunter Biden’s conviction.

“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,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said.

The White House has said there would be no presidential pardon for Hunter Biden.

(AFP)

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