Crime, Law and Justice

President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, is convicted of all 3 felonies in federal gun trial

A man in a suit
Hunter Biden arrives at federal court on June 5 in Wilmington, Del.
Matt Slocum | AP

Hunter Biden was convicted Tuesday of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018 when, prosecutors argued, the president’s son lied on a mandatory gun-purchase form by saying he was not illegally using or addicted to drugs.

Hunter Biden stared straight ahead and showed little emotion as the verdict was read after jury deliberations that lasted only three hours over two days. He hugged his attorneys, smiled wanly and kissed his wife, Melissa, before leaving the courtroom with her.

President Joe Biden issued a statement shortly after the verdict, saying he would accept the outcome of the case and “continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal.”

What to know

Now Hunter Biden and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, the president’s chief political rival, have both been convicted by American jurors in an election year that has been as much about the courtroom as about campaign events and rallies.

Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika, though first-time offenders do not get anywhere near the maximum, and it’s unclear whether she would give him time behind bars. The judge did not set a sentencing date.

“No one in this country is above the law,” special counsel David Weiss, the prosecutor who has led the long-running federal investigation into the president’s son, told reporters after the verdict. “Everyone must be accountable for their actions.”

Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, suggested they would appeal, saying they will “continue to vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available.” In a written statement, Hunter Biden said he was disappointed by the outcome but grateful for the support of family and friends.

The jury’s decision was read swiftly after an announcement that jurors had reached a verdict. First lady Jill Biden and some other family members who sat through much of the trial did not make it into the courtroom in time to hear the jury’s decision. After the verdict, Hunter Biden left the courthouse holding hands with the first lady and his wife. They did not speak to reporters, got into waiting SUVs and drove off.

Joe Biden steered clear of the federal courtroom in Delaware where his son was tried and said little about the case, wary of creating an impression of interfering in a criminal matter brought by his own Justice Department. But allies of the Democrat have worried about the toll that the trial — and now the conviction — will take on the 81-year-old, who has long been concerned with his only living son’s health and sustained sobriety.

Hunter Biden and Trump have both argued they were victimized by the politics of the moment. But while Trump has continued to falsely claim the verdict was “rigged,” Joe Biden has said he would accept the verdict and would not seek to pardon his son.

The president said in his statement Tuesday that he and the first lady will always be there for their son with “love and support.”

“So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery,” President Biden said. Hunter Biden has said he’s been sober since 2019.

The president was scheduled to give a speech on his administration’s efforts to limit gun violence at a conference hosted by the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund in Washington. After the verdict was announced, the White House canceled press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s scheduled briefing and announced that Biden would spend Tuesday evening with family in Delaware. He leaves Wednesday for the Group of Seven leaders conference in Italy.

Jurors found Hunter Biden guilty of lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false claim on the application by saying he was not a drug user and illegally having the gun for 11 days.

And his legal troubles aren’t over. He faces a trial in September in California on charges of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes, and congressional Republicans have signaled they will keep going after him in their stalled impeachment effort into the president. The president has not been accused or charged with any wrongdoing by prosecutors investigating his son.

The prosecution devoted much of the trial to highlighting the seriousness of Hunter Biden’s drug problem, through highly personal testimony and embarrassing evidence.

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