Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi Biden testifies at his gun trial

Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi Biden testifies at his gun trial

Hunter Biden’s defense team called Naomi Biden, his daughter with ex-wife Kathleen Buehl, to testify Friday at his trial on charges related to his October 2018 purchase of firearm.. Much of the questioning centered on a trip Hunter Biden took to New York to swap cars with his daughter, who had borrowed his truck for a few days during the October period when Hunter Biden was in possession of the gun. fire.

Over the weekend or Monday morning, Hunter Biden’s lawyers will reveal whether he will take the stand in his own defense. President Biden’s brother, James “Jimmy” Biden, was expected to testify on Friday, but the court adjourned earlier than expected. If Hunter Biden testifies, prosecutors indicated they could call an additional witness.

Naomi Biden testifies

Hunter Biden’s lawyers asked Naomi Biden about her interactions with her father in August and October 2018. Naomi Biden, who is also an attorney, testified about seeing her father in Los Angeles in August 2018, after not having seen him. for a prolonged period. . She said that she and her boyfriend Peter Neal, who is now her husbandHe drove from Wyoming to see his father while he was in rehab for drug addiction. They met in late August at a coffee shop with their sober coach for lunch.

“He seemed like the clearest person I’d seen him since my uncle died,” she said. “I told him I was very proud of him and I was very proud to introduce him to Peter.”

She later described an interaction with him in mid-October 2018 in New York, when they traded Hunter Biden’s truck for the Cadillac that belonged to his grandfather, Joe Biden, who was then the former vice president. Hallie Bidenwho was romantically involved with Hunter Biden at the time, testified that she found the gun in his truck and discarded it on October 23, 11 days after purchasing it. The messages exchanged between Naomi Biden and her father related to the car exchange in New York occurred over three days, between October 17 and 19, during the period in which he had the gun in her possession.

Naomi Biden and Neal had borrowed Hunter Biden’s van to help Neal move her belongings from Washington, DC, so he could meet her in New York. Naomi Biden said the van was in “good condition,” with no drug paraphernalia, and that her father seemed great at the time.

But during questioning by prosecutor Leo Wise, Naomi Biden admitted, “Yes, I knew he was struggling with addiction,” but said he never used illegal drugs in front of her. “After my uncle (Beau Biden) died, things got worse.” She acknowledged that she had never observed what her father looked like when she used drugs.

Naomi Biden began to speak increasingly softly as the cross-examination continued, but she maintained her composure, even when asked to review text messages she had sent to her father on October 18, 2018. Wise focused on this visit to try to establish that Hunter Biden was still an addict and the drug paraphernalia later found in the truck belonged to him.

There were late-night texts from Hunter Biden, and their schedules made it difficult for the two to meet—in part, Naomi Biden later said, because she had a law internship in Brooklyn. Wise read a text from Naomi Biden that read in part: “I just want to hang out with you.” Hunter Biden reportedly responded by apologizing for being unreachable. “I’m sorry I’ve been so unreachable, it’s not fair to you,” he wrote around 10:30 pm on the night of October 18.

Wise pressed her about whether she knew that her father was meeting someone named Frankie (an alleged drug dealer) that night at his hotel and had given him access to her Wells Fargo account. She repeatedly responded, “No.”

During these exchanges, Hunter Biden sometimes leaned forward over the defense table, his eyes focused on his daughter and his hand covering his mouth. The atmosphere in the Biden family section, where the first lady and other members of the Biden family were seated, was noticeably tense during Naomi Biden’s testimony.

Hunter Biden wipes away a tear during his daughter Naomi Biden’s testimony at his gun trial, Friday, June 7, 2024.

Sketch by William J. Hennessy, Jr.

When Naomi Biden was excused, she hugged her father and they exchanged a kiss on the cheek before she left. Once the court adjourned for lunch, Hunter Biden caught up with Jill Biden as she was leaving and took her hand. She walked slowly, letting go as he moved forward.

Before Naomi Biden’s testimony, Jason Turner, a former StarQuest Shooters employee, and Ron Palmieri, the gun store owner, were the defense’s first two witnesses. Turner testified about the arms sales and background checks for Hunter Biden’s gun purchase, and acknowledged that he had added the supplemental identifying information; was shown in a court exhibition. Palmieri testified that he had approved the passport used as identification for the purchase and that he never interacted with Hunter Biden during the sale.

The prosecution’s final two witnesses Friday morning were an FBI chemist and a DEA agent.

Dr. Jason Brewer testified that he identified a “minimal amount” of cocaine from his analysis of the white residual powder in the leather bag recovered with the gun. He said he was not authorized to perform fingerprint testing or the origin of the waste. During cross-examination by David Kolansky, the defense pointed to the timing of the forensic analysis: five years after his initial recovery by authorities.

DEA Supervisory Agent Joshua Romig deciphered some of the language in Hunter Biden’s 2018-2019 text messages, in which he referenced “baby powder,” “soft stuff,” and “party favors.” Romig said all of these terms referred to some form of cocaine.

He testified about the origins, transportation and distribution of cocaine and analyzed some of the drug paraphernalia, scales and measurements depicted in photos of Biden’s text messages. During cross-examination, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, again focused on the timing, noting that the texts and images referenced by the prosecution were exchanged before and after the firearm purchase in October. Romig noted the exception of a text from October in which Hunter Biden explicitly mentioned that he was smoking crack.

What are the charges against Hunter Biden?

Hunter Biden is charged with three felonies stemming from the purchase of a handgun in October 2018. Two of the charges are related to allegations that he made false statements on a federal weapons form about his drug use, certifying that he was a non-user. nor addict. to any controlled substance during a period in which prosecutors allege he was addicted to crack cocaine.

The other charge is for alleged illegal possession of the gun, possession of the gun for 11 days before Hallie Biden found it and discarded it. Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Hallie Biden, who is also the widow of Beau Biden, Hunter Biden’s brother, testified Thursday that she “panicked” when she found the gun, saying it was “stupid” but that she was worried one of the kids would find it.

She told the court she discovered it when she was cleaning her car, which she often searched for drugs and alcohol. Prosecutors presented parking lot surveillance footage that showed her driving into a grocery store parking lot and throwing the gun into a dumpster, followed by another clip showing her returning to the store to get the gun.

While Hunter Biden’s history of drug addiction is well known (he wrote about it in his memoir, “Beautiful Things”), Lowell has sought to raise questions about whether he knowingly left out the information on the disclosure form. In his opening remarks, Lowell said that many addicts are “in denial” about his drug use and also argued that Hunter Biden did not consider himself an addict when he purchased the gun.

Prosecutors on Thursday showed text messages between Hunter Biden and Hallie Biden from October 2018, when she allegedly bought the gun, where Hunter Biden said she was “shopping,” as well as another in which she said her son was sitting near a “stem”. or crack pipe, in her house.

Hallie Biden also told the court that Hunter Biden introduced her to crack cocaine during the time they were romantically involved.

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

ABC News’ David Muir asked President Biden in an interview Thursday if He rules out forgiving his son if he is convicted. Biden responded: “Yes.”