Prosecutors in Hunter Biden Trial Are Expected to Rest Their Case

Hunter Biden’s Daughter Testifies on His Behalf in Gun Trial

Lawyers for Hunter Biden called his daughter Naomi to the witness stand on Friday as they sought to challenge the government’s argument that he had lied about his drug use on a federal firearms application in 2018.

It is part of the defense’s broader effort to undercut the contemporaneous text messages, bank records as well as Mr. Biden’s own words that prosecutors have introduced in an effort to show that his spiral into an unrelenting addiction to crack cocaine extended to the months and weeks before and after he bought the gun.

But that strategy appeared to falter under cross-examination, with government lawyers eliciting anguished, and excruciating, details about their relationship at the time. After she left the stand, she briefly hugged Mr. Biden.

The trial has served as a vivid reminder of a painful drama that has played out in the Biden family for years, with three former romantic partners called as witnesses to chronicle the depths of Mr. Biden’s addiction around the time he obtained the gun. Family and friends have been a routine presence in the courtroom, including Jill Biden, the first lady, who flew back from France on Thursday to support Mr. Biden in court.

Mr. Biden is charged with three felonies: lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false claim on the federal firearms application and possessing an illegally obtained gun. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. But nonviolent first-time offenders who have not been accused of using the weapon in another crime rarely receive serious prison time for the charges.

The defense has indicated it will seek to show that Mr. Biden was not using drugs at the time he applied to buy a gun, emphasizing the lack of evidence in witness accounts, text exchanges and Mr. Biden’s own memoir. Already in some of his cross-examinations, one of Mr. Biden’s lawyers, Abbe Lowell, has tried to punch holes in the prosecution’s stated timeline of Mr. Biden’s pattern of drug use in the months before and after the gun purchase.

Even as the prosecution relied on Mr. Biden’s former partners to detail a habit that spiraled into drug-fueled partying and a cross-country odyssey in faltering efforts to get sober, the women also acknowledged that neither had seen Mr. Biden in the month that he bought the gun.

To obtain the firearm, he was required to complete a federal form as part of a requisite background check. He answered “no” to the question, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance?”

The defense argues that the question is worded in the present tense, and that the government cannot prove that on the day he acquired the gun, Oct. 12, 2018, Mr. Biden was using crack cocaine.

The judge presiding over the case, Maryellen Noreika, has indicated that she wants the trial to move briskly. Already, she has ruled that Mr. Biden’s lawyers cannot refer to the fact that the local authorities decided not to prosecute him when the gun was recovered.

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