US president's son Hunter Biden convicted of lying about drug use to illegally buy gun

11 June 2024, 16:22 | Updated: 11 June 2024, 17:08

Joe Biden's son has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver.
Joe Biden's son has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

Joe Biden's son has been found guilty of illegally buying a gun after he lied on a purchase form to hide his drug use.

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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.

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. Mr Biden did not testify in the trial.

Hunter Biden with his mum, Jill Biden, (left) and wife, Melissa Cohen (right).
Hunter Biden with his mum, Jill Biden, (left) and wife, Melissa Cohen (right). 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 was convicted on Tuesday.
Hunter Biden was convicted on Tuesday. 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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