Hunter Biden Gun Case Goes to Jury as Prosecutors Wrap Up Closing Arguments

Hunter Biden Gun Case Goes to Jury as Prosecutors Wrap Up Closing Arguments

Jurors in Hunter Biden’s federal gun trial began deliberations on Monday after prosecutors wrapped up their case with a relentless review of evidence they presented over the past week to prove he died in a 2018 application Firearms had knowingly lied.

During an hour-long closing argument, Leo J. Wise, the lead prosecutor in the case, connected dozens of evidentiary points as he sought to show that President Biden’s deeply troubled son intentionally falsified gun forms and claimed to be drug-free, all at one time , when… He was addicted to crack and tore his family apart in the process.

Abbe Lowell, Mr. Biden’s lawyer, countered with a 90-minute closing argument that attacked the credibility of the government’s key witnesses, accused prosecutors of spreading “suspicion” and “assumptions” and suggested there was less at the trial justice would be more about punishing a remorseful and sober man for the crime of drug addiction.

Jurors in the case began deliberations in the afternoon after Maryellen Noreika, the judge in the case, gave them a second round of instructions.

Those around Mr. Biden see additional hope for an acquittal in the jury, which includes several people whose families have been affected by addiction.

The government, on the other hand, sees the case as relatively simple.

Mr. Wise, in remarks that caused a stir in the packed courtroom gallery, urged jurors not to “abandon common sense when entering the jury box” – pointing to hundreds of text messages and bank records, as well as the memoirs of the defendant himself.

(Mr. Lowell later returned to the common sense comment, telling the jury: “Of course you will bring that into all your deliberations.”)

Mr. Wise, a longtime federal prosecutor in Baltimore known for his blunt style, said there was no question that Mr. Biden knew he was using drugs. “The defendant knew what he was doing” when he answered “no” on the form, Mr. Wise said.

Mr. Wise added that, most importantly, Mr. Biden’s repeated stints in rehab before and after the gun purchase proved that he knew he was addicted to crack cocaine.

“If this trial has not proven that Hunter Biden is a crack addict or an illicit user, then no one is a crack addict or an illicit user,” added Derek Hines, Ms. Wise’s deputy, in concluding the government’s case added.

Mr. Wise, the top prosecutor for special counsel David C. Weiss, quickly moved to destroy a central pillar of Mr. Biden’s defense: that the government had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Biden took drugs on the very day he did Application signed in October 2018.

“There is no obligation” for prosecutors to prove that Mr. Biden used drugs at all in the “month of October,” he said, standing a few feet from Jill Biden, the first lady, who seemed captivated by his every word.

Even before Mr. Wise spoke, Judge Noreika told jurors that prosecutors would only have to prove that Mr. Biden was “dependent on controlled substances” or an “unlawful” user at the time of the gun purchase – a major but not unexpected setback for the defence.

That did little to discourage Mr. Lowell, who continued to argue that the government had failed to prove that his client was addicted to drugs at the time, rather than abusing alcohol or dealing with the devastating emotional fallout from the death of his brother Beau in 2015 to deal with.

He criticized the prosecution for submitting a handful of photos – including images of drug residue, crack pipes and measuring scales – from before October 2018, none of which were taken during that critical month.

In a measured but adamant tone, Mr. Lowell criticized the government’s “grant of immunity” to two key prosecution witnesses – Mr. Biden’s former girlfriend Zoe Kestan and Hallie Biden, his brother’s widow, with whom he was romantically involved at the time he abused crack.

Mr. Lowell urged jurors not to internalize what he called the government’s “accordion” strategy, compressing years of addiction and rehab attempts into a reductive story about a helpless addict.

Early Monday, Mr. Biden’s lawyers made it clear that the defendant would not take the witness stand.

Mr Biden was angered by the government’s harsh cross-examination of his daughter Naomi Biden Neal on Friday and had told people close to him that he would consider taking the stand. But the defense rested without taking that risky step after a weekend of consultations between Mr. Biden and Mr. Lowell.

In an emotionally raw statement, Ms. Biden Neal gave an optimistic assessment of her father’s drug use in the weeks before he bought the gun, saying he seemed “hopeful” and sober.

But under cross-examination, that claim appeared to fall apart as prosecutors introduced text messages from that period that illustrated a torturous and torturous relationship in which she told her father that he had pushed her to the breaking point.

Ms. Biden Neal could provide only limited insight into the actions of Mr. Biden, who was often absent from her life for months at a time and was unpredictable even when they were in the same city.

Last week, Mr. Lowell noted that no one saw Mr. Biden doing crack cocaine in the month he bought the gun. Ms. Biden Neal’s statement didn’t change that.

But two text messages retrieved from Mr Biden’s phone damaged his defense from the start. A day after he bought the gun, he sent a text message saying he was going to meet a dealer named Mookie. A day later he came forward and said he had been sleeping in a car and smoking crack.

The apparent admission came to a head on Friday when Mr. Lowell questioned the final prosecution witness, Joshua Romig, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, who was asked to translate drug jargon introduced in the government’s case against Mr. Biden.

Mr. Lowell pointed out that while prosecutors spent days examining Mr. Biden’s communications from 2018 and 2019, showing images of him with a crack pipe and text messages about buying drugs, there was nothing comparable for October 2018.

“No mention of Chore Boy?” Mr. Lowell said to Mr. Romig, referring to terms related to crack use. “No mention of a ball?”

Mr. Romig responded: “Except for the October text we were talking about where he said he smoked crack.”

Source link

2024-06-10 20:25:06