Widow of Beau Biden testifies about seeing revolver in Hunter Biden’s truck

Federal prosecutors say US President Biden’s son was in the throes of a heavy crack addiction when he bought the gun.

Hallie Biden departs the federal court during Hunter Biden's trial on criminal gun charges
Hallie Biden leaves the federal court during Hunter Biden's gun trial [Hannah Beier/Reuters]

Hunter Biden’s widowed sister-in-law has testified that she found his gun and threw it away out of fear of his spiralling drug addiction, potentially bolstering prosecutors’ case that President Joe Biden’s son broke a law barring illegal drug users from owning firearms.

Hallie Biden told jurors about the moment she found the revolver in his truck, describing how she put it into a leather pouch, stuffed it into a shopping bag and tossed it in a rubbish bin outside a market near her home.

“I panicked, and I wanted to get rid of them,” she testified about finding the gun and ammunition in the vehicle’s console in October 2018. “I didn’t want him to hurt himself, and I didn’t want my kids to find it and hurt themselves.”

The purchase of the Colt revolver by Hunter Biden – and Hallie Biden’s frenzied disposal of it – are central to the case against him. Federal prosecutors say the president’s son was in the throes of a heavy crack addiction when he bought the gun.

He has been charged with three felonies: lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false claim on the application by saying he was not a drug user and illegally keeping the gun for 11 days.

Hunter Biden, who has pleaded not guilty, has said the Justice Department is bending to political pressure from Republicans and that he is being unfairly targeted.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden said in an interview with ABC that he would accept the jury’s verdict and ruled out a pardon for his son. Hunter Biden is the first child of a United States president to face a criminal trial.

The Delaware jury has heard testimony this week from witnesses including his ex-wife and a former girlfriend about the 54-year-old’s past prolific drug use, which he has publicly acknowledged.

Prosecutors did not wrap up their case on Thursday and said they planned to call two more witnesses on Friday. Hunter Biden’s lawyer said he could finish his case by the end of Monday.

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, and his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, depart the federal court during his trial on criminal gun charges
Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, and his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, leave the federal court during his trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington [Hannah Beier/Reuters]

Hunter Biden gun charges

Hallie Biden, who had a brief romantic relationship with Hunter after Beau Biden died in 2015, testified that from the time Hunter returned to Delaware from a 2018 trip to California until she threw his gun away, she did not see him using drugs. That time period included the day he bought the weapon.

Much of her testimony focused on October 23, 2018 – 11 days after he bought the gun and when she disposed of it. Hunter was staying with her and seemed exhausted. Asked by the prosecutor if it appeared that Hunter was using drugs around then, she said, “He could have been.”

As Hunter slept in her home, Hallie Biden went to check his car. She said she was hoping to help him get or stay sober, free of alcohol and cocaine. She said she found the remnants of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia. She also found the gun Hunter had purchased in a box with a broken lock that kept it from fully closing. There was ammunition, too.

Hunter Biden watched expressionless as Hallie spoke. She told jurors that she found crack at her home and saw him using it. She said she was with him occasionally when he met dealers.

Jurors have also heard from the gun store clerk, who testified about how he explained a few options to Hunter Biden before he settled on the gun.

The clerk then watched as the customer filled out the firearms transaction record, a required document for the purchase of a gun, and saw him check off “no” to the question of whether he was “an unlawful user of or addicted to” marijuana, stimulants, narcotics or any other controlled substance.

The proceedings are unfolding after the collapse of a plea deal that would have resolved the gun charge and a separate tax case, and spared the Biden family the spectacle of a trial so close to the 2024 election.

The president’s sister, Valerie, was in court on Thursday. First Lady Jill Biden spent the first part of the week there before leaving for France. Allies worry about the toll the proceedings will take on the president, who is deeply concerned about the health and continued sobriety of his only living son.

If convicted, Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison, although first-time offenders do not get anywhere near the maximum, and it is unclear whether the judge would sentence him to time in jail.

He also faces a separate trial in September on charges of failing to pay $1.4m in taxes.

Source: News Agencies