Opening statements in Hunter Bidens gun trial set for Tuesday

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(WILMINGTON, Del.) — With a jury of six men and six women selected and sworn in, arguments in the gun trial of Hunter Biden get underway Tuesday morning when prosecutors and defense counsel deliver their opening statements.

The president’s son stands accused of three felony charges related to his efforts to obtain a firearm in 2018, during a time when he was in the throes of drug addiction.

Special counsel David Weiss’ office has repeatedly called it a “simple case,” and prosecutors’ opening statement will be their first opportunity to lay out their narrative for jurors.

Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, is expected to advance the argument that his client may have been confused by the language on the ATF Form 4473, the document he stands accused of lying on. The box where he allegedly checked “no” asked the gun buyer: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to” various narcotics.

“The issue here is Mr. Biden’s understanding of the question, which asks in the present tense if he ‘is’ a user or addict,” Lowell wrote in court papers.

“The terms ‘user’ or ‘addict’ are not defined on the form and were not explained to him,” Lowell wrote. “Someone like Mr. Biden who had just completed an 11-day rehabilitation program and lived with a sober companion after that, could surely believe he was not a present tense user or addict.”

After the parties deliver opening statements, prosecutors expect to call as their first witness FBI Special Agent Erika Jensen, who is expected to introduce into evidence several of Hunter Biden’s text messages and excerpts from his 2021 memoir, Beautiful Things, as well other evidence.

First lady Jill Biden attended Day 1 of the trial Monday, as did Hunter Biden’s wife, Melissa Cohen, and his stepsister, Ashley Biden. President Joe Biden spent the day nearby at his and the first lady’s Wilmington home.

Before the trial began, the parties projected it could take up to three days to select a jury, but they completed the task in only one day — meaning proceedings are thus far running ahead of schedule.

Judge Maryellen Noreika told jurors they would likely need to be available for the trial through June 14, with the possibility of deliberations stretching into the week of June 17.

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