Biden's son convicted on all charges in gun case

AFP , Tuesday 11 Jun 2024

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

Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden, accompanied by his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, arrives to federal court on hearing there is a verdict, Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Wilmington. AP

 

The 54-year-old son of President Joe Biden was convicted on all three of the counts facing him, CNN and other US media reported.

Hunter Biden was accused of lying about his illegal drug use when he bought a handgun in 2018, a felony.

The verdict comes as his father is seeking reelection and on a day when the president is scheduled to give a speech about gun violence.

It also comes less than two weeks after the conviction on business fraud charges of Donald Trump, the likely Republican presidential nominee in November.

The jury met for about three hours over two days before reaching a guilty verdict.

Hunter Biden did not take the stand during the one-week trial held in the Biden hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

First Lady Jill Biden attended several days of the trial. The president did not but said he and Jill were "proud" of their son.

"As the President, I don't and won't comment on pending federal cases, but as a Dad, I have boundless love for my son, confidence in him, and respect for his strength," Biden said in an earlier statement.

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 ever to be convicted of a crime.

Drug addiction 
 

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.

Hunter Biden could face up to 25 years in prison, although as a first-time offender jail time is unlikely.

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

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