US President Biden’s son was found guilty of lying about drug use to buy a gun

US President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was convicted on Tuesday of lying about his drug use to illegally purchase a gun. This verdict could be used by Democrats to counter Donald Trump’s claims that the justice system is being weaponized against him.

A 12-member jury in Wilmington, Delaware, federal court found Hunter guilty on all three counts, making him the first child of a sitting US president to be convicted of a crime.

Hunter, 54, slightly nodded his head after the verdict was read but showed little reaction otherwise. He then patted his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, on the back and hugged another member of his legal team before leaving the courthouse without making a statement.

President Joe Biden issued a statement saying he accepted the outcome of the case and would respect the judicial process as his son considers an appeal.

No date for sentencing has been set, but the timeline is usually 120 days, placing it no later than a month before the November 5 US presidential election.

Sentencing guidelines for gun charges range from 15 to 21 months, but legal experts note that defendants in similar cases often receive shorter sentences and are less likely to be incarcerated if they comply with the terms of their pretrial release.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll in February showed that 61% of registered voters said Hunter Biden’s legal troubles would not affect their decision to vote for his father in November. The poll also revealed a division among voters on whether Hunter’s legal issues were related to President Biden’s service.

The trial followed the May 30 criminal conviction of Donald Trump, who is the first former US president to be found guilty of a felony and is the Republican challenger to Joe Biden in the upcoming election. Trump, convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal, accuses Democrats of pursuing his case and three other criminal prosecutions to prevent him from regaining power.

Congressional Democrats have cited cases like Hunter’s prosecution as evidence that President Biden is not using the justice system for political or personal ends, reiterating that he would not pardon his son if convicted.

In a statement on Tuesday, President Biden said: “As I said last week, 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. Many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride in 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.”

The Hunter Biden case was brought by US Department of Justice Special Counsel David Weiss, a Trump appointee. Weiss has also charged Hunter with three felony and six misdemeanor tax offenses in California, alleging he failed to pay $1.4 million in taxes between 2016 and 2019 while spending millions on drugs, escorts, exotic cars, and other high-ticket items.

Hunter has pleaded not guilty to those charges, with a trial scheduled for September 5 in Los Angeles.

The Delaware trial included testimony from Hunter’s ex-wife, former girlfriend, and sister-in-law, who provided firsthand accounts of his spiraling addiction in the weeks before and after he bought the gun in October 2018. Prosecutors presented text messages, photos, and bank records indicating Hunter was deeply addicted when he bought the gun and knowingly broke the law by denying his drug use on a government screening form.

His lawyers argued that he was not using drugs at the time of purchase and did not intend to deceive, as he did not consider himself a drug user when filling out the form. The defense called Hunter’s daughter, Naomi Biden, who testified that her father seemed to be doing well when she saw him shortly before and after he bought the gun.

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