Hunter Biden gun trial updates: Jury of six women, six men to hearing openings Tuesday

Hunter Biden gun trial updates: Jury of six women, six men to hearing openings Tuesday
Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building and United States Courthouse on July 26, 2023 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Mark M

(WILMINGTON, Del.) — President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden is on trial in Delaware on three felony charges related to his efforts to obtain a firearm in 2018 while allegedly addicted to drugs.

The son of a sitting president has never before faced a criminal trial.

The frequency of updates may be limited due to federal court restrictions:

Jun 03, 6:06 PM
Friends, family look on during Day 1 in court

Hunter Biden spent the first day of his gun trial taking notes, reading documents placed in front of him by his attorneys, and often turning to catch a glimpse of the friends and family who came to court to support him.

At one point, he nodded along as a prospective juror spoke about her friend’s overdose after addiction.

Jill Biden was seated behind Hunter Biden all day, and she watched attentively as some jurors told the court that they had such a skewed view of her family that they could not be impartial. The first lady did not appear to react in those moments, but at times her daughter Ashley Biden placed her hand on the first lady’s back in support.

Hunter Biden’s family members also appeared to be actively involved with his defense strategy — at one point standing up and huddling with Hunter Biden’s attorneys Abbe Lowell and David Kolansky after a sidebar.

When court was dismissed, Jill Biden gave Hunter Biden a hug and a kiss before he walked out hand-in-hand with his wife.

Jun 03, 5:49 PM
After opening statements, FBI agent will be first witness

Hunter Biden and his stepmother, first lady Jill Biden, departed court at the conclusion of the day’s jury selection proceedings.

With opening statements set for Tuesday, prosecutors said their first witness would be FBI Special Agent Erika Jensen, who will introduce into evidence several of Hunter Biden’s text messages, as well as excerpts from his 2021 memoir, Beautiful Things, and other evidence.

The parties had carved out three days to select a jury, which means the proceedings are currently running ahead of schedule.

Judge Maryellen Noreika told jurors they would likely need to be available for the trial through June 14, with the possibility of deliberations stretching into the week of June 17.

Jun 03, 5:32 PM
Jury of six men, six women will hear openings Tuesday

A jury of six men and six women is scheduled to hear opening statements Tuesday in Hunter Biden’s federal gun trial.

An additional four women were chosen as the alternate jurors.

The jurors include a Secret Service retiree, a man whose father was killed by a gun, and a number of jurors whose family and friends have suffered from addiction — a central theme in the case against Hunter Biden.

Juror No. 1 is a woman who recently heard about Hunter Biden’s case on the evening news. Said said her sister is also an addict, but is “currently clean.”

Juror No. 2 is a woman who worked for the Secret Service for nearly 25 years and is now retired. Her husband was a uniformed officer in Washington, D.C.

Juror No. 3 is woman who gets her news from YouTube. When asked what she has heard about the case, she said that it involves guns and drugs.

Juror No. 4 is a woman who said she feels people who smoke weed “should not be allowed” to own a gun, but said she could set that aside.

Juror No. 5 is a currently unemployed man who previously received a DUI for which he pleaded guilty.

Juror No. 6 is a man who said he previously knew about the case. He currently owns three pistols and said, “I believe the Second Amendment is very important.”

Juror No. 7 is a man whose father owned a firearm. He said he knows “some” gun laws.

Juror No. 8 is a man whose father was killed by a gun in 2004. He has a brother who was arrested for drug possession and was sentenced to prison.

Juror No. 9 is a woman whose home was burglarized years ago. She purchased a gun and has had it for over 20 years.

Juror No. 10 is a man whose brother and brother-in-law both suffered from alcoholism and are now both deceased. His niece and nephew both own guns.

Juror No. 11 is a woman whose family hunts and has hunting rifles. She said her “childhood best friend” passed away from a drug overdose.

Juror No. 12 is a man whose older brother is an addict who has been to rehab multiple times for PCP and heroin. He said the brother had a gun but he was not sure when.

Jun 03, 4:24 PM
Jury is seated

The jury of 12 jurors and four alternates has been seated in Hunter Biden’s federal gun trial.

The panel was picked from 250 prospective jurors who arrived at the courthouse this morning for the voir dire process.

Jun 03, 1:50 PM
Many prospective jurors know of Hunter Biden’s travails

Judge Maryellen Noreika has so far quizzed more than 50 Delaware residents about their fitness to serve as jurors in the first trial of a sitting president’s son. And being Delaware — a small state that Joe Biden represented in the Senate for more than three decades — nearly all of them had some level of familiarity with Hunter Biden’s legal travails.

“I live in Delaware,” one prospective juror said. “You can’t swing a cat without hearing something.”

“Delaware is a small place,” another said. “So you hear stuff.”

Several jurors said they had heard or read about this trial specifically. Most had only a cursory understanding of the case, but others expressed a detailed accounting of the charges. A few jurors mentioned the ill-fated plea deal that Hunter Biden initially struck with prosecutors last summer.

“At one time there was a deal, and then there wasn’t,” one man said.

One woman had even read Hunter Biden’s memoir, “Beautiful Things,” which prosecutors plan to use to help prove their case. She was excused by the judge.

President Joe Biden has emerged repeatedly in questioning, with prospective jurors expressing both positive and negative feelings on his presidency. One woman said she believed that Hunter Biden was facing charges largely because his father is the president.

“I think it was a very strong factor,” she said.

Several others have been dismissed for harboring negative views toward the Bidens. Asked for his opinion about the president, one man said, “Not a good one.” Another man said, “Negative toward the defendant.” Both were excused.

The jury questionnaire also includes several questions about drug and alcohol addiction — an affliction that many prospective jurors said has personally affected them.

One woman held back tears as she described how her best friend had died of a heroine overdose. Another man said his daughter is a recovering addict.

“Everybody needs a second chance,” he said.

Judge Noreika has been pressing ahead, intent on getting a jury seated as soon as possible — perhaps even by the end of the day.

In addition first lady Jill Biden and Hunter Biden’s wife Melissa, his sister Ashley Biden attended court during the morning session, and his confidant and financier Kevin Morris is also in attendance.

Jun 03, 10:26 AM
President Biden says he has ‘boundless love’ for his son

President Joe Biden said in a statement issued this morning that he has “boundless love” for his son.

“I am the President, but I am also a Dad. Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today. Hunter’s resilience in the face of adversity and the strength he has brought to his recovery are inspiring to us,” Biden said in the statement as jury selection got underway.

“A lot of families have loved ones who have overcome addiction and know what we mean,” the president said.

“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,” he said. “Our family has been through a lot together, and Jill and I are going to continue to be there for Hunter and our family with our love and support.”

Jun 03, 10:10 AM
Jurors face individual questioning as Jill Biden looks on

After filling out the jury questionnaire, the first panel of prospective jurors are being brought into the court room one-by-one to face individual questioning from the judge and both parties. As of about 9:45 a.m. ET, the court had made it through the questioning of just six jurors.

The prospective jurors so far have include a woman who worked with the Secret Service for over two decades and whose husband was a uniformed officer in Washington, D.C., at locations including the White House.

One prospective juror who volunteered for Hilary Clinton’s 2008 campaign prompted the first mention of President Joe Biden — though not by name.

Judge Norieka asked that prospective juror if her work volunteering and donating to Democratic campaigns would prevent her from being fair in a case that involved “the son of the Democratic president of the United States.”

She said it would not.

The exchange occurred as first lady Jill Biden sat in the front row of the gallery, watching intently as each juror answered their questions. The first lady is sitting next to Hunter Biden’s wife, Melissa.

Earlier, a prospective juror was struck for cause because of his firm views on guns, after he told the judge he thought gun ownership was a “God-given right.” He said he would not be able to be impartial in a case where someone was prevented from buying a gun due to federal law.

Jun 03, 9:39 AM
1st batch of 50 jurors sworn in

Hunter Biden’s arrival through the front entrance of the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building this morning means he would have passed an enormous portrait of his father, which hangs in every federal courthouse in the country.

The first batch of 50 jurors were sworn in by Judge Noreika, who instructed them not to discuss the case with anyone, including family, or to conduct any research on the case or to read any news about it.

Reporters monitoring the proceedings from the overflow room could not hear most of Noreika’s statement due to technical difficulties. As technicians tried to fix the issue, they turned on a TV that happened to be playing an attack ad against Joe Biden.

Jun 03, 8:58 AM
Hunter Biden, first lady Jill Biden arrive at courthouse

Hunter Biden has arrived at the courthouse for the start of his federal gun trial this morning.

His mother, first lady Jill Biden, is also attending.

Jun 03, 7:46 AM
Prospective jurors will be asked about president

Two hundred and fifty Delaware residents have been summoned to the courthouse in downtown Wilmington, where they will face typical questions about their fitness to serve as jurors.

But because this is the trial of the son of a sitting president, there will be some novel topics covered during the jury selection process known as “voir dire.”

Among the questions jurors will be asked: “If you were eligible to vote in any election(s) in which Joseph R. Biden was a candidate, would that fact prevent you from maintaining an open, impartial mind until all of the evidence is presented, and the instructions of the Court are given?”

And “Do you believe Robert Hunter Biden is being prosecuted in this case because his father is the President of the United States and a candidate for President?”

Jun 03, 7:20 AM
Judge rules annotated form can’t be used as evidence

On the eve of trial, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika threw a wrench in one of the key arguments attorneys for Hunter Biden were planning to advance, ruling that an annotated copy of the federal form Hunter Biden is accused of lying on would be excluded from evidence.

The original document, called an ATF Form 4473, was created in 2018 when Hunter Biden purchased the firearm. But in 2021, gun store employees made a copy that included some handwritten notes. Defense attorney Abbe Lowell contended that employees had “tampered with” the document, and that it raised questions about “who wrote what on the form, and when.”

Lowell hoped his argument would undermine the credibility of some key government witnesses — the people who sold Biden the gun — and potentially create a reasonable doubt that Hunter Biden was the one who actually checked that box.

Attorneys for special counsel David Weiss’ office have said the gun shop employees merely “annotated” the form and urged Noreika to prevent Lowell from introducing it into evidence.

Late Sunday, Noreika sided with Weiss.

Jun 03, 6:50 AM
Jury selection set to get underway

Jury selection is scheduled to get underway today in the federal gun trial of Hunter Biden, who authorities say broke the law when he purchased a Colt revolver in 2018.

President Joe Biden’s son faces two counts of making false statements while purchasing the firearm and a third count of illegally obtaining it while addicted to drugs.

Although the charges together carry a possible sentence of up to 25 years, legal experts say that, as a first-time and nonviolent offender, Hunter Biden would not likely serve time if convicted.

The trial, in Delaware federal court, is expected to last two to three weeks.

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