Hunter Biden’s sister Ashley leaves court in tears as trial hears about his extensive drug use

Biden is accused of lying on a federal firearms background check form to unlawfully obtain a gun

Gustaf Kilander
In Wilmington, Delaware
,Ariana Baio
Tuesday 04 June 2024 22:31 BST
Hunter Biden’s Federal Firearms Trial Begins
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Hunter Biden’s sister, Ashley Biden, appeared to leave the courtroom in tears on Tuesday as jurors heard lengthy details about his prior drug use.

Ashley Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were among more than a dozen family members and friends who showed up to support the president’s son on the first day of his trial in Wilmington, Delaware.

Biden is accused of lying on a federal firearm form about his prior drug use to unlawfully obtain a handgun in October 2018.

Biden, 54, who sought treatment for his substance use disorder, has pleaded not guilty to three gun-related charges.

The first lady placed an arm around her daughter who became visibly upset when prosecutors played clips from Biden’s 2021 memoir Beautiful Things as FBI agent Erika Jensen, the first witness, explained that she had used the book to understand the extent of his drug use.

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, arrives at the federal court with his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, during the second day of his trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., June 4, 2024.
Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, arrives at the federal court with his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, during the second day of his trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., June 4, 2024. (REUTERS)

The president’s son entered the courthouse hand in hand with his wife Melissa Cohen Biden on Tuesday morning ahead of opening arguments. The trial is expected to last up to two weeks.

At the start of the day, Judge Maryellen Noreika informed the court that an alternate juror would be stepping in for one of the original 12 after a woman asked to be removed overnight as she lives far from the courthouse without a car, and was unaware she would need to be present every day.

“No one is above the law,” federal prosecutor Derek Hines said during opening statements. “Nobody is allowed to lie, not even Hunter Biden.”

The prosecutor said that Biden had “lied in a federal form on a background check” and needed to be held accountable.

“Addiction may not be a choice, but lying and buying a gun is a choice,” Hines said.

Witnesses would include an FBI agent, law enforcement officials in Delaware as well as Biden’s ex-wife and past romantic partners, who would talk about his crack cocaine use around the time he purchased the gun, Hines said.

First lady Jill Biden and her senior advisor Anthony Bernal (L) arrive to the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building for the trial of Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, on June 04, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware. Opening statements begin today in Hunter Biden's trial for felony gun charges
First lady Jill Biden and her senior advisor Anthony Bernal (L) arrive to the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building for the trial of Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, on June 04, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware. Opening statements begin today in Hunter Biden's trial for felony gun charges (Getty Images)

Biden sat straight-faced at the defense table during the opening remarks backed by an entourage that included his close friend and financial benefactor Kevin Morris – the entertainment lawyer who loaned Biden millions of dollars.

Abbe Lowell, Biden’s attorney, did not dispute that the president’s son had used drugs but said the government would need to prove that he was under the influence of the substances when he purchased the gun and “knowingly” lied to obtain the weapon.

The defense lawyer also told the court that the gun store employee who sold Biden the firearm did not follow proper protocol when he allowed him to buy it without a proper ID.

The defense also appealed to jurors to have empathy for Biden, explaining that he was dealing with grief from the loss of his brother, Beau Biden, who died at the age of 46 from brain cancer. Hunter Biden was also in “denial” that he had an addiction to drugs, Lowell said.

Several jurors shared on Monday that they have experience with a loved one having substance use issues.

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs from the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on June 3 2024, in Wilmington, Delaware
Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs from the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on June 3 2024, in Wilmington, Delaware (Getty Images)

Tuesday’s proceedings were met with some courtroom drama when Biden’s wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, confronted a former Trump aide, Garrett Ziegler, in the hallway during a morning break.

Biden is currently suing Ziegler for his alleged role in publishing emails and photos from Biden’s laptop.

Melissa went up to Ziegler, pointed her finger at him, and loudly said, “You have no right to be here you Nazi piece of s****,” according to NBC News.

Ziegler did not respond and Melissa turned away from him moments after the encounter.

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