Hunter Biden’s ex-girlfriend details his crack cocaine addiction at trial

Jurors were told Biden would spend days in hotel rooms getting high in the months leading up to his 2018 gun purchase.

Kestan details Hunter Biden's crack cocaine addiction
Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, departs from the federal court with his wife Melissa Cohen Biden [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

Hunter Biden’s former girlfriend has testified about his near-constant crack cocaine use at luxury hotels at the criminal trial where prosecutors are trying to prove that US President Joe Biden’s son lied about his addiction to illegally buy a gun.

Zoe Kestan told jurors that Hunter Biden would prepare crack at the ritzy Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles or spend days in hotel rooms getting high in the months leading up to his 2018 gun purchase.

“He would want to smoke as soon as he woke up,” Kestan told the court on Wednesday, as she described meetings with a “scary” drug dealer and hunting for instructions on the internet to cook powder cocaine into crack.

Kestan testified at the first trial of a US president’s child, where prosecutors are trying to prove that Hunter Biden knowingly lied about his drug use on screening paperwork when he bought a revolver in October 2018.

Kathleen Buhle, who divorced Hunter Biden in 2017, also testified for about 20 minutes to describe how she first discovered he was using drugs.

Prosecutors also said they plan to call Hallie Biden, the widow of Hunter’s late brother Beau.

Hunter Biden, 54, has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges accusing him of failing to disclose his use of illegal drugs when he bought the gun and of illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days.

Biden has publicly acknowledged his past drug use, including in his memoir. He told the judge in the case at a 2023 hearing that he had been clean since 2019.

Defence says no intent to deceive

The defence lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has countered that Hunter Biden was not using drugs at the time of the purchase and did not intend to deceive. Lowell pressed an FBI agent to acknowledge that prosecutors had evidence of Hunter’s addiction only before or after rather than during the time he owned the gun.

The trial follows another historic first – last week’s criminal conviction of Donald Trump, the first US president to be found guilty of a felony. Trump is the Republican challenger to Joe Biden, a Democrat, in the November 5 election.

Kestan also described a message from Hunter Biden in which he said a month after the October 2018 gun purchase that he might get sober but “I’ll always be an addict”.

The defence has worked to show that prosecutors have not presented much evidence that Hunter Biden was using drugs at the time he bought the gun.

Under questioning from Lowell, Kestan said she did not see him in the weeks before and after the gun purchase. She also acknowledged that when he described himself as always being an addict, he was using the language associated with people who are recovering from substance abuse.

Hunter Biden is charged with lying about his use of illegal drugs when he bought a Colt Cobra .38-calibre revolver and illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days in October 2018.

The trial comes after a plea deal that would have settled the case fell apart in July last year.

If convicted on all charges in the Delaware case, Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison, though defendants generally receive shorter sentences, according to the US Department of Justice.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies