Drug addiction becomes common thread amid jury selection in Hunter Biden trial

by Vern Evans

WILMINGTON, Del. — First son Hunter Biden’s criminal trial kicked off Monday in Delaware with jury selection, which revealed that the majority of potential jurors have personally been affected by drug addiction in their own families or social circles. 

“This is Delaware. You can’t swing a cat without hearing something [about the case],” one male potential juror told the court Monday.

President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, is facing three felony firearm offenses regarding the 2018 purchase of a .38 revolver from a gun shop in the state. Prosecutors are expected to dive into the first son’s crack cocaine addiction related to the purchase of the handgun amid the case.

Biden has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

HUNTER BIDEN’S DRUG USE: WHAT THE PROSECUTION NEEDS TO PROVE AND WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW

On Monday, the court heard from more than 60 potential jurors, who appeared before the court individually after filling out a questionnaire related to whether or not they could serve as impartial jurors in the case. By late Monday afternoon, 12 jurors and four alternates were selected from the pool.

The primary body of jurors is composed of six men and six women.

Jury selection lasted the entirety of the day, with the majority of potential jurors telling the court that they have personally experienced addiction issues through their friends and family. Many of the jurors, no matter their racial background, sex or age, responded that they have had a relative who struggled with drug addiction or alcoholism. 

HUNTER BIDEN’S CRIMINAL TRIAL ON FEDERAL GUN CHARGES BEGINS WITH JURY SELECTION

Presiding Judge Maryellen Noreika quizzed the jurors one by one about whether their loved ones’ addiction issues would weigh on their ability to fairly assess the case.

First lady Jill Biden arrives ahead of Hunter Biden's trial at federal court

“It’s the area,” one young woman told the court after describing that in addition to some of her family members struggling with addiction, she’s lost many friends to overdoses.

Others told the court that their loved ones overcame their addiction issues through stints in rehab, while others lamented that members of their immediate family still suffer from addiction.

Prosecutors in the case allege that in October 2018, Biden visited StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply in Wilmington to purchase the Colt revolver but say he lied about his drug addiction when he filled out a form for federal authorities to purchase the gun. Biden’s form was ticked “No” when asked if he is an unlawful user of a firearm or addicted to controlled substances.

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He is facing charges of false statement in purchase of a firearm; false statement related to information required to be kept by federal firearms licensed dealer; possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.

The total maximum prison time for the charges could be up to 25 years. Each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release. 

Hunter Biden was joined by first lady Jill Biden as well as his wife, Melissa Cohen, and his sister, Ashley Biden.

Ashley Biden arrives ahead of Hunter Biden's trial at federal court

Jill Biden showed little emotion throughout court proceedings, smiling and engaging only while speaking to family members, such as daughter-in-law Melissa, or other allies who joined her in court. The first lady rarely took glances at the media or potential jurors when they were collectively brought into the court.

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Hunter Biden, meanwhile, was seen engaging with his defense team throughout the day, flipping through legal papers and chatting with attorney Abbe Lowell. During court breaks, Hunter Biden hugged and kissed Jill Biden and held his wife’s hand while leaving court.

First lady Jill Biden arrives ahead of Hunter Biden's trial at federal court

In addition to many jurors telling the court how addiction has impacted their personal lives, others detailed that they have family members or loved ones who own firearms. A handful of jurors told the court they are legal concealed carry holders for self-defense purposes, while others said they disagree with current gun laws and hope to see stricter gun legislation against so-called “assault weapons.” 

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Noreika peppered the potential jurors with questions regarding whether their views on gun laws would influence them fairly assessing the case. Those who said they could not act impartially were excused from the pool. 

HUNTER BIDEN SCHEDULED TO MAKE FIRST COURT APPEARANCE ON FEDERAL TAX CHARGES IN JULY

Hunter Biden and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, arrives at federal court

The case assignment appeared to come as a surprise to many of the potential jurors, who frequently answered that they were aware Hunter Biden was facing an upcoming trial, noting Delaware is a small state, but did not know their jury duty requests were related to the case. 

With jury selection wrapped, the trial will begin in earnest on Tuesday with opening arguments. Prosecutors said at the tail end of the day that their first witness will be FBI Special Agent Erica Jensen.

Biden is also facing a criminal tax trial in California, which will begin in September, after he was charged with three felonies and six misdemeanors regarding $1.4 million in owed taxes. Biden pleaded not guilty in that case and the taxes have since been paid.

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