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  /  News   /  Prosecution in Hunter Biden gun trial could rest case Thursday

Prosecution in Hunter Biden gun trial could rest case Thursday

WILMINGTON, Del. (NewsNation) — Hunter Biden will be back in a Wilmington, Delaware, courtroom Thursday as his federal gun trial continues.

The president’s son 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.

It has been an emotional week so far for the Biden family, as prosecutors have wasted no time in detailing Hunter Biden’s drug addiction timeline and past traumas in court.

The prosecution is expected to call Hallie Biden to the witness stand Thursday. Hallie Biden is the widow of Hunter Biden’s late brother Beau Biden. However, Hunter Biden and Hallie Biden formed a romantic relationship after Beau Biden’s death.

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Hallie Biden’s testimony is expected to be the most dramatic yet, especially since she is testifying with full immunity. She will discuss how she too was using drugs with Hunter Biden. The prosecution telegraphed they’ll be emphasizing that it was Hunter Biden who introduced Hallie Biden to hard drugs, and is responsible for her addiction. 

On Wednesday, Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, and a former girlfriend, Zoe Kestan, testified about finding his crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia. Plus, jurors saw photos of the president’s son bare-chested in a bubble bath and heard about his visit to a strip club.

After the jurors were dismissed, federal prosecutor Derek Hines told the judge the prosecution had six more witnesses after gun store clerk Gordon Cleveland and that their testimony would be shorter. He said it is possible the prosecution could rest its case Thursday. If so, he said, the prosecution would like to know which witness or witnesses the defense might call.

Witness testimony

Erika Jensen

Before the other three witnesses took the stand Wednesday, defense attorney Abbe Lowell continued his cross-examination of FBI agent Erika Jensen, the prosecution’s first witness who testified Tuesday. Lowell, in talking Jensen through the timeline of chapters of Hunter Biden’s memoir, “Beautiful Things,” argued his client’s drug use dropped off when he returned to the East Coast before he purchased the handgun at a Wilmington, Delaware, gun store.

Lowell also focused his cross-examination of Jensen on Hunter Biden’s purchases of alcohol, not drugs, in October 2018, the same month when he bought the gun.

As he neared the end of his questioning, Lowell tried to undermine the credibility of Biden’s infamous laptop that was left at a repair shop and the authenticity of the messages found on the device. Lowell also tried to cast doubts about whether his client was telling the truth in some of his text messages.

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Jensen said investigators couldn’t verify that Hunter Biden actually did what he claimed he was doing in the texts being used as evidence against him.

The form reads “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”

At one point, the physical gun was shown to the jury. Cleveland testified Hunter Biden paid for the firearm in cash.

Kathleen Buhle

After Jensen, the jury heard three separate witness testimonies that detailed Hunter Biden’s drug addiction and gun purchase.

During the prosecution’s examination of Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, Buhle described the first time she found the pipe her ex-husband used to smoke crack cocaine. She said she was devastated and fearful for him, but not shocked because she had already suspected his usage due to his change in mood, attitude and anger.

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Buhle said she suspected Hunter Biden was using drugs because he had been discharged from the U.S. Navy for cocaine use. She told the prosecutors she’d often find broken pipes, remnants of white powder and crystals in his car.

However, when cross-examined by the defense team, Buhle admitted she had never seen Hunter Biden using drugs.

Buhle and Hunter Biden were married for 24 years before their divorce in 2017.

Zoe Kestan

Kestan, a former girlfriend of Hunter Biden, was another witness called to testify Wednesday. 

She detailed instances of his drug use, including when they first met at the New York strip club she was working at in 2017. During this instance, Kestan told the court, Hunter Biden took out a pipe and began smoking what she assumed was crack. For the next five days, Kestan said, she stayed with Hunter Biden in his hotel, where he was smoking crack around every 20 minutes. 

Prosecutors showed jurors photos from Kestan’s cellphone showing a glass pipe on a bathroom counter at the Four Seasons hotel in New York City, as well as pictures from a stay in Los Angeles, including a bathroom selfie showing pipes and a beer bottle near Hunter Biden. 

When cross-examined by Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Kestan said she had no contact with him in October 2018, when he bought the gun. Earlier in the day, however, Kestan testified that Hunter Biden invited her to visit him at a rental home in Massachusetts the following month. He told Kestan he was undergoing ketamine transfusions, which can be used to treat depression.

Gordon Cleveland

Gordon Cleveland, who sold Hunter Biden the firearm, testified he watched Biden fill out the ATF form for gun purchases and watched him fill out the drug-related question at the heart of the case.

When the president’s son filled out the form, Cleveland said, he saw him answer “no” to the question about drug use and that he expressed no confusion or misunderstanding about the questions he was being asked on the form.

Cleveland is set to be back on the stand Thursday morning.

Criminal referral issued for Hunter Biden

House Republicans issued criminal referrals Wednesday against President Joe Biden’s son and brother, accusing them of making false statements to Congress as part of the GOP’s yearlong impeachment inquiry.

The Republican leaders of the House Oversight and Accountability, Judiciary and Ways and Means committees sent a letter to the Justice Department recommending the prosecution of Hunter Biden and James Biden and accusing them of making a “conscious effort” to undermine the House’s investigation.

Lowell said in a statement that the referrals are “nothing more than a desperate attempt by Republicans to twist Hunter’s testimony so they can distract from their failed impeachment inquiry and interfere with his trial.”

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.