‘State of Palestine’ applies to join South Africa’s case at top UN court accusing Israel of genocide

WILMINGTON: A jury was sworn in on Monday in Hunter Biden’s gun-related trial, a historic prosecution of the sitting president’s son that could affect the 2024 presidential election.

Hunter Biden, 54, went on trial in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, four days after Republican Donald Trump, the Democratic presidential challenger in the Nov. 5 U.S. election, became the first former president to be found guilty of a crime.

President Joe Biden’s son is accused of failing to disclose his drug use when he bought a .38 Colt Cobra revolver and illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days in October 2018.

He pleaded not guilty to three felonies.

The case, brought by U.S. Special Counsel David Weiss, a Trump appointee, is one of two criminal cases against Hunter Biden. He also faces federal taxes in California.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika concluded the day by swearing in 12 jurors and four alternates. “Your job is to find the facts,” she told them, ordering them not to discuss the case with anyone, not even among themselves.

The case is expected to focus on Hunter Biden’s longtime use and addiction to crack cocaine, which he discussed publicly and was a prominent part of his 2021 autobiography, “Beautiful Things.” At a hearing last year, Noreiki said he had been sober since mid-2019.

Republicans have used Hunter Biden’s troubles to try to shift attention away from Trump’s legal woes. Trump is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11. He has pleaded not guilty to three other pending criminal cases.

Jill Biden, Hunter Biden’s wife Melissa Cohen Biden and his half-sister Ashley Biden were in attendance. Wilmington is the birthplace of the Bidens.

“Jill and I love our son and are so proud of the man he is today,” Joe Biden said in a statement, adding that many families have loved ones who have overcome addiction.

For years, congressional Republicans have tried in vain to find evidence of a corrupt connection between Hunter Biden’s foreign dealings, including work for the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, and his father’s political power.

ŽIRNIKS REVEAL THE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH ADDICTION

Among the jurors were several people who revealed personal experiences with drug addiction. One sting juror had a friend who overdosed, another chosen as a deputy whose uncle used drugs land him in prison.

“I feel like it’s an everyday part of the world,” said the substance abuse substitute juror.

Few jurors expressed strong political views, and a handful said they knew members of the extended Biden family.

One potential juror said she and her husband knew Hunter Biden. “Wilmington is a small place,” a potential juror told the judge before being dismissed.

To convict, all 12 jurors must agree that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of all charges in the Delaware case, although defendants typically receive shorter sentences, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Hunter Biden spent the weekend with his father in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and the two went biking and attended church together on Saturday.

BUYING A PISTOL

Prosecutors will try to prove that Hunter Biden knew he was lying when he checked the “no” box next to the question on a federal gun purchase form asking if he was an illegal user of a controlled substance.

Prosecutors’ lawyers have revealed in court filings that they may use details obtained from Hunter Biden’s phone and iCloud account, including photos of him smoking crack and messages with drug dealers. They said they may call his ex-wife Kathleen Buhle, who accused Hunter Biden in their 2017 divorce proceedings of spending money on drugs, alcohol and prostitutes, as a witness.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers have indicated that they may try to prove that he underwent a drug rehabilitation program before buying the gun and that he may have believed his answer on the gun purchase form to be truthful.

A plea deal that would have resolved the gun and tax charges without jail time collapsed last year after Noreika questioned the scope of the immunity he extended to Hunter Biden. His lawyers attributed the failure of the plea deal to pressure from Republicans.

Noreika, who was appointed by Trump to the bench, entered several orders over the weekend requested by prosecutors that apparently undermined the defendant’s legal strategy.

The judge said the defense could not introduce expert testimony that people suffering from substance abuse disorders might not be considered addicts.

That testimony could help Biden prove he didn’t know he lied on a background check form. The government must prove that Biden knowingly lied.

Leave a Comment