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Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years jail over conviction

US President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced after being convicted of three felony charges related to lying about his drug use when illegally buying a gun.

Jun 12, 2024, updated Jun 12, 2024
Hunter Biden (C) holds hands with First Lady Jill Biden (L) and wife Melissa Cohen Biden (R), as he departs his federal gun trial after a jury found him guilty of three gun charges at the US Federal District Court. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

Hunter Biden (C) holds hands with First Lady Jill Biden (L) and wife Melissa Cohen Biden (R), as he departs his federal gun trial after a jury found him guilty of three gun charges at the US Federal District Court. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

It is unclear how long of a sentence Hunter Biden will get.

The sentence is up to Judge Maryellen Noreika and Hunter Biden is a first-time offender.

The judge set no date for sentencing but added the timeline is usually in 120 days – which would place it no later than a month before the November 5 US presidential election.

The jury in a Wilmington, Delaware, federal court found him guilty on all three counts against him, making Hunter Biden the first child of a sitting US president to be convicted of a crime.

A verdict of the 12-member jury must be unanimous on each count.

Hunter Biden, 54, lightly nodded his head after the verdict was read but otherwise showed little reaction.

He then patted his lawyer Abbe Lowell on the back and hugged another member of his legal team.

Lowell said in a statement they would “vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available to Hunter”.

His father, Joe Biden, issued a statement saying he accepted the outcome of the case and would respect the judicial process as his son considers an appeal.

Jurors found him 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.

In a statement Hunter Biden said he was more grateful for the love and support he had received than he was disappointed by the guilty verdict.

He said he was “blessed” to experience the gift of recovery “one day at a time”.

The Hunter Biden case was brought by US Department of Justice Special Counsel David Weiss, an appointee of former US president Donald Trump.

Weiss has also charged Hunter Biden with three felony and six misdemeanour tax offences in California, alleging he failed to pay $US1.4 million ($A2.1 million) in taxes between 2016 and 2019 while spending millions on drugs, escorts, exotic cars and other high-ticket items.

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Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

A trial is scheduled for September 5 in Los Angeles.

The Delaware trial included prosecution testimony by Hunter Biden’s ex-wife, former girlfriend and sister-in-law, who gave firsthand accounts of his spiralling addiction in the weeks before and after he bought the gun in October 2018.

Prosecutors also showed text messages, photos and bank records that they said showed Biden was deep in the throes of addiction when he bought the gun and knowingly broke the law by answering “no” to being a drug user on a government screening form.

Biden’s lawyers sought to show he was not using drugs when he bought the gun and did not intend to deceive because he did not consider himself a drug user when he filled out the form.

The defence called Hunter Biden’s daughter, Naomi Biden, who testified that her father seemed to be doing well when she saw him shortly before and after he bought the gun.

The sentencing guidelines for the gun-related charges against Biden are 15 to 21 months but legal experts say defendants in similar cases often get shorter sentences and are less likely to be incarcerated if they abide by the terms of their pre-trial release.

First lady Jill Biden, the president’s brother James and other family members watched from the first row of the courtroom as the defence rested its case on Monday without calling Hunter Biden to the witness stand.

The first lady has been in court almost every day since the trial began last week.

-with AP

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