Hunter Biden’s Lawyers Will Argue He Wasn’t an ‘Addict’ When He Bought Gun, Despite Admitting To ‘Sleeping on a Car Smoking Crack’

According to legal filings, the defense will attempt to paint a portrait of a troubled drug addict who was attempting to get sober years after his older brother’s death.

AP/Matt Rourke
Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance at Wilmington, Delaware, October 3, 2023. AP/Matt Rourke

Hunter Biden’s legal team may try to argue in his upcoming firearms trial that he was not addicted to drugs at the time he bought the gun in 2018 because he’d just gone to rehab, according to recent court filings.  

“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,” Mr. Biden’s defense lawyer, Abbe Lowell wrote.

Mr. Biden, whose trial begins next week, is facing multiple federal felony charges for lying about his drug use to buy a gun in 2018. Dueling filings from the defense and prosecution suggest that some of the trial will revolve around disagreements on what defines an addict, and on how Mr. Biden’s substance abuse disorder could be characterized in October of 2018, when he bought the gun.

Late last week, Special Counsel David Weiss won a procedural victory in court that will allow him to paint a vivid picture of Mr. Biden’s substance abuse. 

Judge Maryellen Noreika ruled that Mr. Weiss need only prove that Mr. Biden was using drugs around the time that he purchased a gun and lied to the government on an official form. The first son’s defense team had wanted to raise the burden of proof for Mr. Weiss, arguing that he needed to prove Mr. Biden was high on crack on the day he purchased the weapon. 

Federal law mandates that “the prospective purchaser certify truthfully that he or she is not an unlawful user of, or addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.” Mr. Biden’s attorney appears likely to argue that if he was not high when he purchased the gun, and since he had just gone to rehab, that he did not break the law.

Mr. Weiss is seeking to head that off. “The government moves to exclude the defendant from arguing or suggesting through questioning of witnesses that the government must establish the defendant’s use of a controlled substance on the day of his firearm purchase. Because such an argument is contrary to the law, it should not be permitted,” Mr. Weiss wrote in a legal filing. 

Mr. Weiss says there is a treasure trove of evidence that will prove that Mr. Biden was actively addicted to drugs before, during, and after his purchase of the firearm and his possession of it over the course of several days in 2018. The special counsel will introduce messages recovered from Mr. Biden’s laptop and iCloud account, admissions from his own memoir “Beautiful Things,” and expert testimony from chemists and witnesses about the presence of drugs in Mr. Biden’s car at the time he bought the gun. 

Mr. Biden’s former girlfriend who was dating him at the time the gun was purchased, Hallie Biden — who is also his late brother’s widow — is also expected to testify about the first son’s active addiction at the time. 

The gun, a Colt Cobra 388PL revolver, was in Mr. Biden’s possession from October 12 to October 23 of 2018. During that time, messages recovered from his laptop and iCloud show that he was actively using drugs during the time he had the weapon.

“I’m now off MD Av behind blue rocks stadium waiting for a dealer named Mookie,” Mr. Biden wrote his then-girlfriend and brother’s widow Ms. Biden in one message the day after his gun purchase. In another message sent on October 14, Mr. Biden told her was “sleeping on a car smoking crack.”

His memoir will also be introduced as evidence of his addiction at the time. Mr. Biden wrote vividly about his active addiction during the time period when he bought the gun, saying that during that time period, he was living out of a motel and smoking crack. “I hardly went anywhere now, except to buy. It was me and a crack pipe in a Super 8, not knowing which the f— way was up. All my energy revolved around smoking drugs and making arrangements to buy drugs — feeding the beast,” Mr. Biden wrote. 

Mr. Weiss says he does not need to prove Mr. Biden was high at the moment he bought the gun — only that he was using drugs around that time period and that Mr. Biden lied to the federal government about his addiction. “The government believes that the defendant will attempt to improperly argue to the jury, or suggest through questioning of witnesses, that the government must establish his use of a controlled substance on the day that he purchased the firearm. That is not the law,” Mr. Weiss writes

Mr. Lowell says that excluding such an argument from trial would violate the first son’s constitutional rights. In a decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a panel of judges ruled that the government must prove that an individual was actively addicted to drugs at the time the purchase was made. 

Mr. Lowell argues that the Fifth Circuit precedent applies, and that Mr. Biden is innocent of the charges because he was not high at the exact moment he bought the gun. “The Special Counsel must prove Mr. Biden actually used, and knew he used, drugs at the time he purchased the gun. Precluding Biden from challenging this element of the offense would violate his Fifth and Sixth Amendment right ‘to present a complete defense,’” Mr. Lowell says. 

The defense team also says that admitting parts of Mr. Biden’s book about the difficulties of his addiction should not be allowed without also including evidence that could prove Mr. Biden’s commitment to sobriety and his “state of mind” at the time of the firearm purchase. “How Mr. Biden perceived or understood his then-physical, emotional, and mental state is thus extremely relevant to the charges in this case,” the defense argues.

Mr. Biden has claimed that efforts by Republicans to put him under intense legal pressure is an attempt to get him to relapse and die in order to hurt his father and “destroy a presidency,” as he told the techno artist Moby. 

Mr. Weiss himself was appointed to his position of United States Attorney by President Trump, and Mr. Lowell has argued that he only brought charges because of pressure from congressional Republicans after previously offering Mr. Biden a plea deal that would have allowed him to avoid a felony conviction and prison for both the gun charge and separate tax evasion charges. Mr. Biden faces a separate tax evasion trial in California in the fall, also brought by Mr. Weiss.

In the interview with Moby, Mr. Biden said “sick people” were trying to get to him as a proxy for the president. 

“What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to kill me, knowing that it will be a pain greater than my father could be able to handle, and so therefore destroying a presidency in that way,” he said. 

“It’s not about me,” Mr. Biden continued, saying that “these people are just sad, very, very sick people that have most likely just faced traumas in their lives that they’ve decided that they are going to turn into an evil that they decide that they’re going to inflict on the rest of the world.”


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