Naomi Biden Testifies in Father's Drug Treatment Defense

Naomi Biden testified in defense of her father, Hunter Biden, at his criminal trial. He is accused of not disclosing his addiction on a gun purchase application in 2018. Prosecutors claim he was actively using crack, while the defense argues he didn't consider himself an addict.

Reuters | Updated: 07-06-2024 22:39 IST | Created: 07-06-2024 22:39 IST
Naomi Biden Testifies in Father's Drug Treatment Defense
Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden's daughter Naomi testified about her father's drug treatment as part of his defense on Friday at a criminal trial where he stands accused of failing to disclose his addiction on his application when he bought a gun in 2018. Naomi Biden, 30, told the jury about seeing her father in California in the weeks leading up to his gun purchase, describing his treatment for addiction and his sobriety. "He seemed really great."

Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden's son, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of failing to disclose his addiction when he bought a Colt Cobra revolver and of illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days. On cross-examination, Naomi Biden was shown she was messaging and calling her father and unable to reach him.

"I can't take this," she texted her father several days after he purchased the gun. "I miss you so much and I just want to hang out." Prosecutors introduced prior testimony and evidence that they said showed Hunter Biden was arranging to buy crack during that time.

The jury in the 5-day-old first-ever criminal trial of a U.S. president's child heard witnesses including Hunter Biden's ex-wife, former girlfriend and sister-in-law testify about his use of crack cocaine. His sister-in-law, Hallie Biden, on Thursday recounted finding the gun and throwing it away out of concern for the safety of Hunter Biden and her children.

Prosecutors said there was overwhelming evidence he was actively using crack in the weeks before and after he purchased the gun in October 2018 and that he lied by answering "no" on a government screening document when asked if he was a drug user. Defense attorney Abbe Lowell has said Biden did not intend to deceive because he did not consider himself an addict when he purchased the gun. Hunter Biden told the judge at a 2023 hearing that he had been sober since 2019.

Earlier on Friday, prosecutors rested their case and Hunter Biden's team asked the judge overseeing the case to acquit him. His lawyers said the evidence did not support a conviction. U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika did not immediately rule on the request which is routinely filed by defendants and often denied.

Lowell called as witnesses an employee and the owner of the gun shop who played a role on the day Hunter Biden purchased the firearm to try to cast doubts about the accuracy of the background check form at the center of the case. He said Hunter Biden had yet to decide whether to testify. Criminal defendants rarely testify as they then have to face prosecutors' cross-examination.

The trial follows another historic first - last week's criminal conviction of Donald Trump, the first U.S. president to be found guilty of a felony. Trump is the Republican challenger to Joe Biden, a Democrat, in the Nov. 5 election. Trump and some of his fellow Republicans in Congress have accused Democrats of pursuing that and three other criminal prosecutions to prevent Trump from regaining power in his rematch with the president.

Congressional Democrats have pointed to cases including the Hunter Biden prosecution as evidence that Joe Biden is not using the justice system for political or personal ends. Joe Biden told ABC News on Thursday that he would not pardon his son if he was convicted. Asked if he would accept the trial outcome and rule out a pardon, Biden responded, "Yes."

If Hunter Biden is convicted on all charges, he faces up to 25 years in prison, though defendants generally receive shorter sentences, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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