Hunter Biden’s drug use: What the prosecution needs to prove and what we already know

President Biden’s son Hunter Biden is slated to face an historic trial in Delaware on Monday, when prosecutors are expected to dive into the first son’s crack cocaine addiction and his purchase of a handgun. 

Biden’s trial will begin Monday in a federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, where he faces three felony firearm offenses regarding the 2018 purchase of a .38 revolver from a gun shop in the state. Biden has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The charges include: false statement in purchase of a firearm; false statement related to information required to be kept by federal firearms licensed dealer; possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.

The total maximum prison time for the charges could be up to 25 years. Each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. 

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Biden has had well-documented and admitted struggles with addiction, most notably with crack cocaine. He has since gone into recovery and has been sober since 2019, according to sworn testimony in federal court last year. 

Prosecutors allege that in October 2018, Biden visited StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply in Wilmington to purchase the Colt revolver, but say he lied about his drug addiction when he filled out a form for federal authorities to purchase the gun. Biden’s form was ticked “No” when asked if he is an unlawful user of a firearm or addicted to controlled substances. 

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For the two charges related to the form, prosecutors in the case are working to prove to the jury that Biden filled out the form and knowingly made a false statement, and that he knowingly made the false statement because he believed he would not be able to purchase the gun otherwise. For the third charge, which relates to Biden’s possession of a firearm while allegedly addicted to substances, prosecutors must prove that Biden was an unlawful user of a firearm or addicted to drugs, and that he knowingly possessed the firearm as an unlawful user or while addicted to drugs. 

“Maybe it’s the ultimate test for a recovering addict – I don’t know,” Biden told Axios earlier this year regarding the importance of his sobriety ahead of his dad’s second election faceoff against former President Trump.

“I have always been in awe of people who have stayed clean and sober through tragedies and obstacles few people ever face. They are my heroes, my inspiration.”

Pretrial motions are currently hashing out the definitions of “addict” and “unlawful user” to provide to the jury ahead of eventual jury deliberations. 

Biden has repeatedly acknowledged his addiction struggles, most notably in his 2021 autobiography, “Beautiful Things: A Memoir.” 

“I spent more time on my hands and knees picking through rugs smoking anything that even remotely resembled crack cocaine. I probably smoked more parmesan cheese than anyone you know,” he said during an interview promoting the book. 

“I went one time for 13 days without sleeping, and smoking crack and drinking vodka throughout that entire time,” he added. 

He previously said his addictions stretch back years, including in the early 2000s when he began heavily drinking while working at law and lobbying firm Oldaker, Biden & Belair, the New York Times reported. In 2014, he was discharged from the Navy Reserves after he tested positive for cocaine use, while following his brother’s death in 2015, he reported a return to the use of alcohol. 

In 2016, Biden said his addiction to drugs spiraled, with him using crack cocaine, and going through a tumultuous divorce with his wife of 24 years, the New York Times reported. 

Biden’s defense team had worked to toss the Delaware case in the lead-up to the trial, including a last-ditch effort that was denied by the court last week. The defense team has argued Biden had just completed a rehab program before the gun purchase and was not an active drug user at the time. 

“Someone, like Mr. Biden who had just completed an 11-day rehabilitation program and lived with a sober companion after that, could surely believe he was not a present tense user or addict,” Biden attorney Abbe Lowell wrote in court documents. 

Biden was in possession of the firearm for about 11 days before police responded to a dumpster behind a shopping market, where they found the revolver, Fox News Digital previously reported. Biden was in a relationship with his late brother’s widow at the time, Hallie Biden, who allegedly threw the gun in the dumpster. 

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Hallie Biden might be required to testify in the trial, and reportedly had an unexpected late-night visit from the president last month in the lead-up to the trial. 

The White House said the president did not discuss the trial with Hallie, instead visiting her “because of the approaching 9th anniversary of Beau’s passing,” the New York Post reported. Beau Biden, Hallie Biden’s deceased husband and the president’s eldest son, died of brain cancer on May 30, 2015. 

Hunter Biden is now married to Melissa Cohen, whom he has credited with helping him overcome his drug addiction. 

“The decision never felt rash or harebrained or reckless. It felt urgent,” Biden wrote in his memoir of his marriage to Cohen in 2019. “It felt like I’d been given a reprieve. I felt the astonishing luck of a man who’d agreed to meet a woman for coffee when it was all but impossible for him to leave a hotel room without a crack pipe in his hand, and who fell in love at first sight.”

The trial will kick off on Monday with jury selection. Lowell has slammed the case as one that “selectively charged” Biden for political purposes, pointing to U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who is serving as special counsel in the case. 

Weiss was nominated to serve as U.S. attorney for the United States District Court for the District of Delaware by former President Trump, after the state’s two Democratic senators, Chris Coons and Tom Carper, urged his nomination. Biden retained him in the position after assuming the White House. He also served as interim U.S. attorney under President Barack Obama. 

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U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika will preside over the case. Trump nominated Noreika as a U.S. district judge in 2017, with the judge also garnering support from Democratic lawmakers. Fox News Digital previously reported she has donated at least $15,000 to political candidates of both parties since 1999. 

Upon her nomination, Noreika received support and praise from Democrats in the state, including Coons and Carper. 

“Delaware’s courts are renowned for their judges’ expertise. Maryellen Noreika and Colm Connolly are two highly-respected, sought-after attorneys who have displayed a vast knowledge of the law and a thorough understanding of the courts during their extensive careers working in the Delaware judicial system,” Carper said of Noreika’s nomination in December 2017.

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The trial is anticipated to last at least a week, and will not be televised. Biden is also facing a criminal tax trial in California, which will begin in September, after he was charged with three felonies and six misdemeanors regarding $1.4 million in owed taxes. The taxes have since been paid. Biden has pleaded not guilty in that case. 

The trial follows the unprecedented NY v. Trump trial, which found the 45th president guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. Following the verdict, Biden highlighted that “no one is above the law.” 

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“The American principle that no one is above the law was reaffirmed. Donald Trump was given every opportunity to defend himself. It was a state case, not a federal case. And it was heard by a jury of 12 citizens, 12 Americans, 12 people like you, like millions of Americans who’ve served on juries,” Biden said at the White House. “This jury is chosen the same way every jury in America is chosen. It was the process that Donald Trump’s attorney was part of.”

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