Beau Biden’s Widow Takes the Stand in Hunter Biden’s Gun Trial

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(WILMINGTON, Del.) — The widow of Hunter Biden's brother, Beau, testified Thursday in his federal gun trial that she found his crack at her Wilmington, Delaware, house, saw him use the illicit drug and eventually starting abusing it herself.

“Where did he get the drugs from?” prosecutor Leo Wise asked.

“Various dealers,” replied Hallie Biden, who had a brief romantic relationship with Hunter following her husband's death. She was sometimes with Hunter when he met dealers.

Federal prosecutors have argued that Hunter Biden was in the throes of a heavy addiction when he bought the gun at the center of the case. They have accused him of lying on a government form. He’s been charged with three felonies: 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.

Hunter Biden, who has pleaded not guilty, has said the Justice Department is bending to political pressure from Republicans and that he’s being unfairly targeted.

Much of the prosecution’s case so far has been dedicated to highlighting the seriousness of his crack addiction and showcasing to jurors bare-chested moments with ex-girlfriends, infidelity and crack pipes — judgment lapses they believe prove he was actively using when he checked “no” on the form. Prosecutors argue that the evidence is necessary to show his state of mind when he bought the gun.

Hallie Biden took the gun from Hunter and tossed it into the garbage at a nearby market, afraid of what he might do with it. The weapon was later found by someone collecting cans and eventually turned over to police. Her text exchange with Hunter Biden shortly after he bought the gun is also part of the prosecution's evidence.

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The prosecution played surveillance footage showing her dumping the gun in the trash.

“I realize it was a stupid idea now, but I was panicking,” she said.

Wise asked Hallie about a 2018 trip to California, where she visited Hunter at the Roosevelt Hotel, and asked her whether she was also using drugs.

“Yes, I was,” she said.

“And who introduced you to it?’” the prosecutor asked.

“Hunter did,” Hallie said as Hunter rested his face on his left hand and looked down.

“It was a terrible experience that I went through, and I’m embarrassed and ashamed, and I regret that period of my life,” Hallie said.

Hallie said she stopped using drugs in August 2018, but that Hunter continued smoking crack.

The Democratic president’s son arrived at court Thursday with a copy of his memoir, “Beautiful Things,” tucked under his arm. The book, written after he got sober in 2021, figures heavily into prosecutors’ case: They’ve played audio excerpts for jurors in which he details his descent into drugs and alcohol following the death of his brother in 2015.

Jurors at Hunter Biden's criminal trial heard more Thursday from the former gun store clerk who sold him the .38-caliber Colt revolver.

The clerk testified Wednesday that he watched as President Joe Biden's son answered “no” to the question of whether he was “an unlawful user of or addicted to” marijuana, stimulants, narcotics or any other controlled substance.

Gordon Cleveland, the former clerk at StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply, told jurors he walked Hunter Biden through a few options before he settled on the $900 gun, and he watched Biden sign the form, which includes a warning about the consequences of submitting false information.

“Everything he bought, he ultimately decided on,” he told jurors.

In his cross-examination Thursday, defense attorney Abbe Lowell pointed out that some of the questions on the form are in the present tense, such as “are you an unlawful user of or addicted to” drugs. He has suggested Hunter Biden did not believe he had an active drug problem.

Other questions are in the past tense, such as asking the potential gun buyer whether he or she has ever been discharged from the military or been adjudicated as a mental defective.

The proceedings are unfolding after the collapse of a plea deal that would have resolved the gun charge and a separate tax case, and spared the Biden family the spectacle of a trial so close to the 2024 election. First lady Jill Biden spent several days in court before joining President Joe Biden in France for the D-Day anniversary. Allies worry about the toll the proceedings will take on the president, who is deeply concerned about the health and sustained sobriety of his only living son.

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Meanwhile, Hunter Biden's friends and family are being called to testify.

Kathleen Buhle, who was married to Hunter Biden for 20 years, told jurors Wednesday that she discovered her husband was using drugs when she found a crack pipe in an ashtray on their porch on July 3, 2015, a day after their anniversary. When she confronted him, “he acknowledged smoking crack,” she said.

Buhle testified that even before she found the drugs, she suspected he was using. He had been kicked out of the Navy after testing positive for cocaine.

“I was definitely worried, scared,” she said. They have three children and divorced in 2016 after his infidelity and drug abuse became too much, according to her memoir, “If We Break,” about the dissolution of their marriage.

Buhle, who was subpoenaed, was on the stand for a brief 20 minutes. She remained composed but seemed upset as she recounted how she searched his car about a dozen times for drugs, whenever the children were driving it.

Prosecutors also called Zoe Kestan, who testified under immunity about meeting Hunter Biden in December 2017 at a strip club in New York where she worked. During a private session, he pulled out a pipe and began smoking what she assumed was crack.

“He was incredibly charming and charismatic and friendly, and I felt really safe around him,” she said. “I remember after he had smoked it, nothing had changed. He was the same charming person.”

Kestan detailed for jurors when she saw him use drugs, buy drugs, talk about drugs or possess drug paraphernalia. Prosecutors asked her where he stored his drugs and pipes, and she testified he kept them in pouches and other places, such as sunglasses cases.

On cross-examination, Kestan acknowledged that she had no contact with him in October 2018, the period when he bought the gun.

Prosecutors have also used his own words as evidence through his memoir and text messages he sent to friends and family. The memoir covers the period he bought the gun, though it doesn't mention the weapon specifically.

Lowell has said Hunter Biden's state of mind was different when he wrote the book than when he purchased the gun, when he didn't believe he had an addiction. And he's suggested Hunter Biden might have felt he had a drinking problem at the time, but not a drug problem. Alcohol abuse doesn't preclude a gun purchase.

If convicted, Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison, though first-time offenders do not get anywhere near the maximum, and it’s unclear whether the judge would give him time behind bars.

He’s also facing a separate trial in September on charges of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes.

In Congress, Republicans have for months pursued an impeachment inquiry seeking to tie President Biden to his son’s business dealings. So far, GOP lawmakers have failed to uncover evidence directly implicating President Biden in any wrongdoing. But on Wednesday, House Republicans accused Hunter Biden and the president’s brother James Biden of making false statements to Congress as part of the inquiry.

The trial is unfolding shortly after Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was convicted of 34 felonies in New York City. The two criminal cases are unrelated, but their proximity underscores how the courts have taken center stage during the 2024 campaign.


Long reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.

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