Hunter Biden’s daughter testifies at his criminal gun trial

By Jack Queen and Tom Hals

WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) -Hunter Biden’s daughter testified in her father’s defense on Friday that he seemed to respond well to drug treatment in the weeks before he bought a gun that prosecutors say he obtained illegally by failing to disclose his addiction.

Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, has pleaded not guilty in federal court to felony charges that include lying about his addiction when he applied for the Colt Cobra revolver in 2018 and illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days.

His daughter Naomi Biden, 30, told the jury at his criminal trial she saw her father in California then and “He seemed really great.”

On cross-examination, Naomi Biden was shown that she had been messaging and calling her father and unable to reach him.

“I can’t take this,” she texted her father several days after he purchased the gun. “I miss you so much and I just want to hang out.”

Prosecutors introduced prior testimony and evidence that they said showed Hunter Biden was arranging to buy crack cocaine at the time.

Naomi Biden was the last witness on Friday.

The jury was dismissed until Monday when the defense will announce whether Hunter Biden, 54, will testify. Testifying can be risky for criminal defendants because it exposes them to cross-examination.

The jury in the 5-day-old first-ever criminal trial of a U.S. president’s child heard witnesses including Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, former girlfriend and sister-in-law testify about his use of crack cocaine.

His sister-in-law, Hallie Biden, on Thursday recounted finding the gun and throwing it away out of concern for the safety of Hunter Biden and her children.

Prosecutors said that there was overwhelming evidence Hunter Biden was actively using crack in the weeks before and after he bought the gun and that he lied by answering “no” on a government screening document when asked if he was a drug user.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell has said Biden did not intend to deceive because he did not consider himself an addict when he purchased the gun. Hunter Biden told the judge at a 2023 hearing that he had been sober since 2019.

Earlier on Friday, prosecutors rested their case and Hunter Biden’s team asked the judge overseeing the case to acquit him. His lawyers said the evidence did not support a conviction.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika did not immediately rule on the request which is routinely filed by defendants and often denied.

In addition to Naomi Biden, Lowell called as witnesses an employee and the owner of the gun shop to try to cast doubts about the accuracy of the background check form at the center of the case.

The trial follows another historic first – last week’s criminal conviction of Donald Trump, the first U.S. president to be found guilty of a felony. Trump is the Republican challenger to Joe Biden, a Democrat, in the Nov. 5 election.

Trump and some Republicans in Congress have accused Democrats of pursuing the case and three other criminal prosecutions to prevent Trump from regaining power in his rematch with the president.

Congressional Democrats have pointed to cases including the Hunter Biden prosecution as evidence that Joe Biden is not using the justice system for political or personal ends.

Joe Biden told ABC News on Thursday that he would not pardon his son if convicted.

The sentencing guidelines for the charges against Biden 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.

(Reporting by Jack Queen and Tom Hals; Editing by Scott Malone, Bill Berkrot and Howard Goller)





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