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  /  News   /  Hunter Biden’s gun trial continues as ex-wife expected to testify

Hunter Biden’s gun trial continues as ex-wife expected to testify

WILMINGTON, Del. (NewsNation) — The federal gun trial against President Joe Biden’s son continues Wednesday following an emotional day in court for the Biden family Tuesday.

Hunter Biden has been accused of lying on a federal form when he bought a .38-caliber Colt Cobra Special in 2018. Hunter Biden falsely said he was not a drug user, despite being addicted to cocaine at the time. He has since pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

The prosecution will continue Wednesday with their case against Hunter Biden, likely calling his ex-wife Kathleen Buhle to testify. It’s also possible the prosecution will call Beau Biden’s widow Hallie Biden to the stand Wednesday, depending on how quickly prosecutors can move forward.

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First witness testimony

On Tuesday, prosecutors called FBI agent Erika Jensen to the stand as their first witness. Jensen was assigned to investigate Hunter Biden and specifically looked for evidence and abuse of drugs.

The prosecution looked to use Jensen’s testimony to introduce much of the digital evidence in the case, including embarrassing and intensely personal messages and images from Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Jenson summarized the timeline of Hunter Biden’s drug addiction from 2014 to 2019 during her testimony. The prosecution also played audiobook excerpts from Hunter’s memoir detailing his addiction, which was read and recorded by Hunter Biden himself.

Listening to the audiobook recordings took an emotional toll on Biden family members. Ashley Biden, the president’s daughter and Hunter Biden’s half sister, was seen wiping tears from her eyes. First lady Jill Biden was seen putting her head down a few times during the excerpts, but her face remained unreadable. Hunter Biden held his hand over his mouth almost the entire time, looking bothered by the audio being played.

It was also during this testimony that prosecutors introduced Hunter Biden’s laptop to the jury. The infamous laptop was left at a Delaware repair shop in 2019, and Jensen testified that authorities were able to verify it belonged to Hunter Biden using its serial number and other Apple records.

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WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – JUNE 04: Ashley Biden, daughter of U.S. President Joe Biden, arrives to the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building during her brother Hunter Biden’s trial on June 04, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware. Opening statements begin today in Hunter Biden’s trial for felony gun charges. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – JUNE 04: First lady Jill Biden arrives to the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building for the trial of Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, on June 04, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware. Opening statements begin today in Hunter Biden’s trial for felony gun charges. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – JUNE 04: First lady Jill Biden departs from the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on June 04, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware. Opening statements took place today for Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, trial for felony gun charges. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Prosecution opening statements

During opening statements Tuesday, prosecutor Derek Hines hammered the point that “no one is above the law, no matter what your name is.” Hines mentioned it at least three times in the first few minutes of the prosecution’s statement.

He meticulously walked the jury through the 4473 gun form that Hunter Biden filled out and allegedly lied on, saying there isn’t a system in place to prevent drug users from getting guns other than this “self-check” box on the form.

The prosecutor also described the romantic relationship between Hunter Biden and his late brother’s widow, claiming that he introduced Hallie Biden to crack cocaine and influenced her addiction. Hines shared texts between the two in which Hunter Biden told her he was meeting with a dealer behind a local grocery store. Hines also pointed to another message in which Hunter Biden claimed he’d gotten high and fallen asleep.

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Hines then laid out how after 11 days of owning the gun, Hallie Biden had concerns for Hunter Biden. She allegedly took his gun, wrapped it up in his leather pouch (which he used to transport cocaine) and threw it in an open garbage can behind a grocery store, Hines said.

It was then found by a man who regularly looked through garbage cans for recyclables, the prosecution argued.

Hunter Biden was then reportedly angry when he found out Hallie Biden had taken his gun and demanded they retrieve it, but it had already been found, the prosecution continued.

Defense opening statements

Hunter Biden’s defense team’s argument hinges on two claims: that Hunter Biden didn’t knowingly break the law because he was clean and in between relapses when he filled out the gun application, and that the gun sellers were eager to sell to Hunter Biden because of who he is, overlooking protocol.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell argued that the 4473 form’s language wasn’t clear, explaining that it doesn’t ask, “Have you ever used drugs?” Rather, it says, “Are you a drug user?”

Lowell noted that in other places on the form, it does use the phrase, “Have you ever?” But on the drug question, it specifically does not.

Regarding the text messages between Hunter Biden and Hallie Biden, Lowell urged the jury to pay attention to the dates of the text messages about drug use that the prosecution will show. He said they won’t be dated just before Hunter bought the gun on Oct. 12, 2018, but rather that they would be dated shortly after Hunter left a rehab facility in California, where he was working on getting clean.

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Lowell argued that Hunter Biden truly considered himself not to be a drug user at that moment. After the gun was found, and he and Hallie got into a big fight, the stress of that situation caused Hunter Biden to relapse, Lowell argued.

The defense told the jury that the evidence would show Hunter Biden was acting normally in the few days around his gun purchase, and that normal behavior is impossible had he been addicted to and using crack during that period.

“There are functioning alcoholics. There’s no such thing as a functioning crack addict,” Lowell said.

It was highlighted by Lowell that Hunter Biden never disputed that he had a history of drug use, saying Hunter Biden, like millions of Americans, had real struggles with addiction.

Hunter Biden charges

Hunter Biden faces three felonies stemming from a 2018 firearm purchase when he was, according to his memoir, in the throes of a crack addiction. He has been accused of lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false claim on the application used to screen firearms applicants when he said he was not a drug user, and illegally having the gun for 11 days.

He has pleaded not guilty and has argued he’s being unfairly targeted by the Justice Department after Republicans decried a now-defunct plea deal as special treatment for the Democratic president’s son.

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The trial comes just days after Donald Trump, Republicans’ presumptive 2024 presidential nominee, was convicted of 34 felonies in New York City. A jury found the former president guilty of a scheme to cover up a hush money payment to a porn actor to fend off damage to his 2016 presidential campaign. The two criminal cases are unrelated, but their proximity underscores how the criminal courtroom has taken center stage during the 2024 campaign.

Hunter Biden is also facing a separate trial in California in September on charges of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes. Both cases were to have been resolved through a now-defunct plea deal with prosecutors last July, the culmination of a yearslong investigation into his business dealings.

The Associated Press and NewsNation’s Rich Johnson contributed to this report