‘I am the President, but I am also a Dad’: Joe Biden breaks silence after son found guilty of buying gun illegally

11 June 2024, 17:17 | Updated: 11 June 2024, 18:54

Joe Biden has spoken out on his son's conviction.
Joe Biden has spoken out on his son's conviction. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Joe Biden has said he is ‘so proud’ of his son Hunter Biden and ‘will accept the outcome of the case’ after he was found guilty of illegally purchasing a gun.

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Hunter Biden, 54, was convicted of three firearms charges in the first criminal prosecution of a sitting US president's child. He now faces up to 25 years in jail.

Following the verdict announcement, the US President Joe Biden said he was "so proud" of his son's recovery.

He said in a statement: "I am the President, but I am also a Dad.

"Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today. 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.

"As I also said last week, I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal.

"Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that."

Prosecutors had said he lied on a form when buying a Colt Cobra revolver in October 2018 by stating he was not a drug user or addict, despite a problem with crack cocaine.

Mr Biden pleaded not guilty to felony charges that included lying about his addiction when he filled out a government screening document for the revolver and illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days.

The verdict arrived after three hours of jury deliberations.

'Disappointed'

Mr Biden did not testify in the trial but said he is grateful for the support from family and friends but "disappointed" by the outcome.

"I am more grateful today for the love and support I experienced this last week from Melissa, my family, my friends, and my community than I am disappointed by the outcome," the US president's son said in a statement.

"Recovery is possible by the grace of God, and I am blessed to experience that gift one day at a time."

Hunter Biden with his step-mum, Jill Biden, (left) and wife, Melissa Cohen (right).
Hunter Biden with his step-mum, Jill Biden, (left) and wife, Melissa Cohen (right). Picture: Alamy

Defence lawyer Abbe Lowell said they are "naturally disappointed" by Hunter Biden's guilty verdict.

Mr Lowell said in a statement that they respect the jury process and will vigorously pursue all legal challenges that are available.

"Through all he has been through in his recovery, including this trial, Hunter has felt grateful for and blessed by the love and support of his family," Mr Lowell said.

After Hunter Biden's conviction, President Joe Biden said in a statement that he and the first lady will always be there for their son "with our love and support".

The president said he will accept the outcome and continue to respect the judicial process as his son considers an appeal.

President Biden said he and wife Jill love their son and they are proud of the man he is today.

The special counsel appointed to investigate Hunter Biden said his conviction on federal gun crimes is a reminder that no one is above the law.

Hunter Biden was convicted on Tuesday.
Hunter Biden was convicted on Tuesday. Picture: Alamy

He showed little emotion as the verdict was read and later went on to hug both of his lawyers and kiss his wife, Melissa. They left the courtroom together.

First lady Jill Biden was seen in the courtroom after the verdicts were announced and was later seen holding his hand.

Hunter Biden’s ex-wife and sister-in-law both gave accounts during trial testimony of his drug addiction in the weeks before and after he purchased the gun.

Prosecutors showed evidence, such as text messages and photos, to prove that the 54-year-old was in the throes of addiction when he bought the gun and therefore lied when he checked "no" on the form.

But defence lawyer Abbe Lowell had argued that Hunter Biden's did not use drugs when he bought the gun and so did not consider himself a user at the time.

The case followed another historic first after last month's criminal conviction of former president Donald Trump.

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Hunter Biden, center, President Joe Biden's son, accompanied by his mother, first lady Jill Biden, left, and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden
Hunter Biden, center, President Joe Biden's son, accompanied by his mother, first lady Jill Biden, left, and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden. Picture: Alamy

In the US it is mandatory to fill out a gun-purchase form, which Mr Biden lied on to say he was not illegally using or addicted to drugs.

While the president’s son faces up to 25 years behind bars, first-time offenders typically do not get a maximum sentence. It is unclear whether Judge Maryellen Noreika will sentence him to time behind bars.

Joe Biden has steered clear of the trial and spoken little about the case, as he reportedly does not want to appear as though he is interfering in a criminal matter brought by his own Justice Department.

However, the US president has previously said he would accept the results of the verdict and would not seek to pardon his son.

His son also faces another trial in September in California on charges of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes.

The president has not been accused or charged with any wrongdoing by prosecutors investigating his son.

The judge set no date for sentencing but said the timeline is usually within 120 days - meaning it could take place a month before the US presidential election on November 5.

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