Jurors in Hunter Biden’s gun trial began deliberating Monday to decide whether the president’s son is guilty of federal firearms charges over a revolver he bought when prosecutors say he was addicted to crack cocaine.

Hunter Biden is facing three felony charges stemming from the purchase of the gun in 2018. Prosecutors say he lied on a federal form by saying he was not illegally using or addicted to drugs.

What You Need To Know

  • Jurors in Hunter Biden’s gun trial began deliberating Monday to decide whether the president’s son is guilty of federal firearms charges

  • The president's son is accused of lying about his drug use when he bought a gun in 2018

  • Prosecutors have argued the evidence is clear that Hunter Biden was in the throes of addiction when he checked “no” on the form at the gun shop that asked whether he was “an unlawful user of, or addicted to” drugs

  • Defense lawyers argued that prosecutors failed to prove he was using drugs in the 11 days that he possessed the gun

In his closing argument, prosecutor Leo Wise told jurors to focus on the “overwhelming” evidence against Hunter Biden and pay no mind to members of the president's family sitting in the courtroom, including first lady Jill Biden.

“All of this is not evidence,” Wise said, extending his hand and directing the jury to look at the gallery. “People sitting in the gallery are not evidence.”

"No one is above the law," Wise added as he urged the jurors to convict Hunter Biden.

The prosecutor pointed to deeply personal testimony, text messages, photos and Hunter Biden's own words in his 2021 memoir to argue that the president's son clearly knew he was in the throes of a crack addiction when he marked on mandatory gun-purchase form that he was not illegally using or addicted to drugs.

“The evidence was personal. It was ugly, and it was overwhelming,” Wise said. “It was also absolutely necessary.”

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell told jurors the prosecution did not meet its burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense has argued there’s no evidence Hunter Biden was actually using drugs in the 11 days that he possessed the gun. What the president's son later wrote in his memoir is irrelevant, Lowell argued.

“There was no actual witness to the drug use in this period of time,” Lowell told jurors.

The defense suggested Hunter Biden was lying about where he was in text messages to his brother Beau's widow. The prosecution suggests those texts show drug use and drug deals in the days following the gun purchase.

“At any given time, he would lie to her about where he was,” Lowell said.

Lowell focused on the word “knowingly,” saying Hunter’s state of mind at the time of the gun purchase is critical. The defense has suggested that, at the time he bought the gun, Hunter did not consider himself an addict. What he wrote later in his memoir is irrelevant, Lowell suggested.

Lowell also tried to discredit former girlfriend Zoe Kestan’s testimony about witnessing Hunter’s drug use. He notes there were “No pipe, no scales, no drugs. Not even alcohol” in photos she took while visiting him in California.

Lowell also noted that Hallie Biden did not see Hunter using drugs in the days surrounding the gun purchase. As far as text exchanges with Hallie Biden suggesting drug use and drug deals in the days following the gun purchase, Lowell suggested, perhaps Hunter was “just putting somebody off.”

“At any given time, he would lie to her about where he was,” Lowell said.

Turning to testimony by Kathleen Buhle, Hunter’s ex-wife, about his drug use, Lowell noted that they were no longer together in 2018.

“There was no actual witness to the drug use in this period of time,” he said.

Lowell noted that the federal form Hunter filled out when he bought the gun asks in the present tense whether the purchaser “is” a user of or addicted to illegal drugs. He also suggested that Biden decided on a whim to go to the gun store after visiting a nearby store to buy a new cellphone.

Lowell noted that Hunter bought several other items at the gun store, including a utility knife, flashlight and BB gun.

“It does reflect on whether Hunter had the necessary intent” to buy a gun and lie on the paperwork.

He also said there’s no evidence that he ever took it out of the locked box it came in before Hallie Biden found it and threw it in the trash.

“On October 23rd, Hallie did something incredibly stupid,” Lowell said. “She may have done it for love,” or perhaps out of anger in suspecting that Hunter had been with another woman, he added.

Lowell also reminded jurors that their duty to determine a person’s guilt or innocence comes with “tremendous responsibility.”

“The burden of proof … is always on the prosecution,” he said, telling jurors Hunter is presumed innocent unless and until they find him guilty. The fact that he has a famous last name doesn't mean he is less entitled to his rights than any other defendant, Lowell said.

Lowell also told jurors they should consider testimony by Hallie Biden and Zoe Kestan under grants of immunity “with great care and caution.”

“With my last breath in this case, I ask for the only verdict that will hold the prosecutors to what the law requires of them,” Lowell concluded, asking jurors to find Hunter not guilty.

Closing arguments came shortly after the defense rested its case without calling Hunter Biden to the witness stand. He smiled as he chatted with members of his defense team and flashed a thumbs-up to one of his supporters in the gallery after the final witness — an FBI agent called by prosecutors in their rebuttal case.

The first lady, the president's brother James and other family members sat in the first row of the Wilmington, Delaware, courtroom. At one point, Hunter Biden leaned over a railing to whisper in his mother's ear. She has sat through most of the trial, missing only one day last week to attend D-Day anniversary events with the president in France.

Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges stemming from the October 2018 purchase of a gun he had for about 11 days. He has accused the Justice Department of bending to political pressure from former President Donald Trump and other Republicans to bring the gun case and separate tax charges after a deal with prosecutors fell apart last year.

Hunter Biden's lawyers last week called three witnesses — including his daughter Naomi — as they tried to show that he did not consider himself an “addict” when he filled out the form.

The case has put a spotlight on a turbulent time in Hunter Biden's life after the death of his brother, Beau, in 2015.

Jurors have heard emotional testimony from Hunter Biden's former romantic partners and read personal text messages. They've seen photos of him holding a crack pipe and partly clothed, and video from his phone of crack cocaine weighed on a scale.

His ex-wife and two former girlfriends testified for prosecutors about his habitual crack use and their failed efforts to help him get clean. One woman, who met Hunter Biden in 2017 at a strip club where she worked, described him smoking crack every 20 minutes or so while she stayed with him at a hotel.

Jurors have heard him describe at length his descent into addiction through audio excerpts played in court of his 2021 memoir, “Beautiful Things." The book, written after he got sober, covers the period he had the gun but doesn’t mention it specifically.

A key witness for prosecutors was Beau's widow, Hallie, who had a brief, troubled relationship with Hunter after his brother died of brain cancer. She found the unloaded gun in Hunter’s truck on Oct. 23, 2018, panicked and tossed it into a garbage can at a grocery store in Wilmington, where a man inadvertently fished it out of the trash.

From the time Hunter returned to Delaware from a 2018 trip to California until she threw his gun away, she did not see him using drugs, Hallie told jurors. That time period included the day he bought the weapon. But jurors also saw text messages Hunter sent to Hallie in October 2018 saying he was waiting for a dealer and smoking crack. The first message was sent the day after he bought the gun. The second was sent the following day.

The defense has suggested Hunter Biden had been trying to turn his life around at the time of the gun purchase, having completed a detoxification and rehabilitation program at the end of August 2018.

“It was only after the gun was thrown away and the ensuing stress ... that the government was able to then find the same type of evidence of his use (e.g., photos, use of drug lingo) that he relapsed with drugs," defense lawyer Abbe Lowell wrote in court papers filed Friday.

Joe Biden said last week that he would accept the jury’s verdict and has ruled out a presidential pardon for his son. After flying back from France, the president was at his home in Wilmington for the day and was expected in Washington in the evening for a Juneteenth concert. He was scheduled to travel to Italy later this week for the Group of Seven leaders conference.

Last summer, it looked as if Hunter Biden would avoid prosecution in the gun case altogether, but a deal with prosecutors imploded after the judge, who was nominated to the bench by Trump, raised concerns about it. Hunter Biden was subsequently indicted on three felony gun charges. He also faces a trial scheduled for September on felony charges alleging he failed to pay at least $1.4 million in taxes over four years.

If convicted in the gun case, he faces up to 25 years in prison, though first-time offenders do not get anywhere near the maximum, and it’s unclear whether the judge would give him time behind bars.