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‘So sad’: Jurors reveal huge Biden mistake

Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, has been convicted of federal gun crimes in an American court.

A jury found that the 54-year-old had lied about his drug use and addiction while illegally purchasing, and then possessing, a firearm.

The case marked the first time an American president’s son had been on trial, adding to the ignominious history made by former President Donald Trump’s conviction in New York late last month.

On Tuesday, local time, Hunter was found guilty on three felony counts: making a false statement material to a firearm sale, making a false statement in a firearms transaction record, and possession of a firearm as a drug user or addict.

The maximum sentences for all three charges include possible jail time, though his status as a first-time offender will likely spare him from that fate.

Breaking his silence in a statement after the decision, Hunter said he was “disappointed” by the outcome but more grateful for support he had received.

“I am more grateful today for the love and support I experienced this last week from Melissa, my family, my friends, and my community than I am disappointed by the outcome,” he said.

“Recovery is possible by the grace of God, and I am blessed to experience that gift one day at a time.”

President Biden changed his plans on Tuesday after the verdict, heading to his Delaware estate where he was expected to be with Hunter, instead of staying at the White House.

Mr Biden said in a statement that he and his wife Jill “love our son”.

“So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery,” the 81-year-old said.

“Hunter’s resilience in the face of adversity and the strength he has brought to his recovery are inspiring to us. A lot of families have loved ones who have overcome addiction and know what we mean.”

He stressed that “as a Dad, I have boundless love for my son, confidence in him, and respect for his strength”.

Jurors reveal huge mistake

Speaking to the NY Post, two of the jurors who convicted Hunter said they were particularly affected by the testimony of his eldest daughter Naomi, with one saying the defence made a mistake calling her as a witness.

Naomi Biden, 30, recounted her father’s erratic behaviour in the days after he lied about his crack cocaine addiction to purchase the revolver, texting him at one point, “I’m really sad, dad. I can’t take this. I don’t know what to say. I just miss you so much. And want to hang out with you.”

One juror, a 51-year-old woman, told The Post, “It just seemed so sad for her to see her father in such a state. She was happy when she thought he was getting better, then he relapsed.”

A second juror, a 68-year-old man, said he “probably wouldn’t have called her” as a witness. “I felt sorry for Naomi, I really did,” he said. “I don’t think any daughter should have to be up there testifying on her father’s behalf. That was heart-wrenching and I think all the jurors felt the same thing.”

After hearing the verdict, Hunter left court hand-in-hand with his wife, Melissa, and his stepmother, First Lady Jill Biden.

Joe Biden, who was not present for the verdict, had previously pledged not to use his executive powers to pardon his son.

Hunter’s conviction, confirmed after three hours of jury deliberations, came on the same day his father was scheduled to give a speech on America’s epidemic of gun violence.

The trial itself lasted a week, with Dr Jill Biden in attendance for multiple days. She did, however, still accompany the President to the events commemorating D-Day in France.

“As the President, I don’t and won’t comment on pending federal cases, but as a dad, I have boundless love for my son, confidence in him, and respect for his strength,” Mr Biden said in a statement before the jury delivered its verdict.

Hunter still faces tax evasion charges in a different state, California.

History of addiction

Politics aside, Hunter’s legal troubles have reopened painful emotional wounds for the Biden family, which has been open about his struggles with drug addiction.

The Yale-trained lawyer and lobbyist-turned-artist was charged with falsely stating, when buying a .38 caliber revolver in 2018, that he was not using drugs illegally.

He was also charged with illegal possession of the firearm, which he had for 11 days in October of that year.

In his defence, Hunter claimed he did not consider himself an addict at the time he bought the deadly weapon.

Hunter’s brother, Beau, died from cancer in 2015, when Joe Biden was vice president. His sister Naomi was killed as an infant in the 1972 car crash which also claimed the life of his mother, Neilia.

In recent years, Hunter’s personal indiscretions and business career trading off his father’s famous name have been a near-constant source of controversy and political attacks.

Members of the Republican Party in Congress have conducted investigations into allegations of corruption and influence-peddling against him, citing his business interests in places such as Ukraine and China.

Thus far, those investigations have not produced concrete results, and no related charges have ever been brought.

– with AFP

Read related topics:Joe Biden

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