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Jury finds Hunter Biden guilty of three felonies in gun trial

By Ai Heping in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-13 09:55
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Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, and his wife Melissa Cohen Biden leave the federal court after the jury finds him guilty on all three counts in his trial on criminal gun charges, in Wilmington, Delaware, US, June 11, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

A jury on Tuesday found Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, guilty of three felony counts of lying on a federal firearms application in 2018 tied to a handgun purchase.

The verdict was a quick one, coming after just more than three hours of deliberations split between Monday and Tuesday.

Three jurors who spoke to CNN said on Tuesday that they believed they had no choice but to find Hunter guilty, and one said the case "seemed like a waste of taxpayer dollars".

In a phone interview with CNN, a male juror who identified himself only as juror No 10 told the network that the jury was divided 6-6 on all three counts after taking a quick vote by hand on Monday evening after deliberations began.

On Tuesday, as the group reviewed evidence, however, those who favored acquittal changed their minds relatively quickly, said the juror, a 68-year-old man who declined to give his name.

A member of the jury told ABC News that "politics never came into play" in deliberations and that "the verdict absolutely was not politically motivated".

The juror said evidence that placed Hunter at a 7/11 convenience store — a place where he repeatedly said in his memoir and in text messages that he purchased drugs — days before his gun purchase tipped the jury over the top.

Abbe Lowell, Hunter's defense attorney, had argued that his client believed at the time he purchased the gun when he was in recovery and was not addicted to or actively using drugs.

President Biden said in a statement after the verdict that he and first lady Jill Biden will always be there for their son with "our love and support".

The president said he will accept the outcome and continue to respect the judicial process as his son considers an appeal.

Later on Tuesday, hours after his son had been convicted on federal gun charges, the president heralded the steps his administration has taken to strengthen gun laws in the United States and enhance the penalties for those who violate them.

Hunter could face up to 25 years in prison, but first-time offenders who did not use their weapons to commit a violent crime typically receive no jail time.

Republican critics have focused on Hunter's business dealings, particularly with foreign companies, but have produced no evidence that the president was involved in or benefited from them.

The verdict brought to an end the trial that started last week and extensive testimony about his struggle with drugs from several of the women in his life — three former romantic partners, including the widow of his brother Beau Biden — and some of his closest relatives.

Hunter was indicted on three felony gun charges after a proposed plea deal with federal prosecutors unraveled.

He is also facing a September trial on charges in California for failing to pay $1.4 million in federal income taxes.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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