Hunter Biden’s ex-wife to testify about drug use at trial

By Thomson Reuters Jun 5, 2024 | 5:07 AM

By Jack Queen and Tom Hals

WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) – The ex-wife of U.S. President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden is expected to testify on Wednesday about the younger Biden’s drug use, which prosecutors contend he lied about to illegally buy a gun.

Prosecutors told jurors hearing the historic first trial of a U.S. president’s child that evidence will show Hunter Biden knowingly lied about his drug use on screening paperwork when he purchased a revolver in October 2018, while his defense lawyer countered that Hunter Biden was not using drugs at the time and did not intend to deceive.

Jurors were shown text messages, bank records and clips of the audiobook version of Hunter Biden’s memoir that prosecutors say prove he was routinely using crack around the time he bought the gun, including the day after he made the purchase.

“Addiction is not a crime. Lying is,” prosecutor Derek Hines said.

Hunter Biden, 54, has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges accusing him of failing to disclose his use of illegal drugs when he bought the gun and of illegally possessing the weapon for 11 days.

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.

Nothing said at Hunter Biden’s trial directly addressed that issue, though the prosecution said “no one is above the law.”

Hines told jurors they would next hear from Hunter Biden’s ex-wife Kathleen Buhle, as well as his former girlfriend Zoe Kestan, and Hallie Biden, the widow of his late brother Beau Biden. All three can speak to Hunter Biden’s years-long struggles with drugs and alcohol, Hines said.

Hunter Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell said the president’s son is open about his struggles with addiction, which he documented in his 2021 memoir “Beautiful Things.” He told jurors the evidence will show Hunter Biden was sober when he bought the gun and did not consider himself a drug user at the time.

Trump is due to be sentenced on July 11 after being convicted by a jury in state court in New York last Thursday of 34 felony counts of falsifying documents to cover up hush money paid to a porn star to avoid a sex scandal shortly before the 2016 U.S. election.

He has pleaded not guilty in three other pending criminal cases, two related to his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden and one accusing him of unlawfully keeping classified national security documents after leaving office in 2021.

(Reporting by Jack Queen and Tom Hals; Editing by Scott Malone and Stephen Coates)