Judge Rules That Hunter Biden Laptop Will Be Introduced as Evidence at Gun Trial

The judge has excluded references to Mr. Biden’s ‘extravagant lifestyle’ and other personal issues, however.

AP/Julio Cortez, file
Hunter Biden leaves court on July 26, 2023, at Wilmington, Delaware. AP/Julio Cortez, file

The prosecution will be able to use Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop at his upcoming gun trial, though they will be barred from mentioning the first son’s “extravagant lifestyle,” his discharge from the Navy Reserves, and his paternity dispute with an Arkansas woman, among other things. The judge also says that the prosecution does not have to prove that Mr. Biden was high on crack cocaine on the day he purchased the firearm in 2018. 

At a pretrial conference hearing on Friday, Judge Maryellen Noreika of the district of Delaware ruled on matters related to the inclusion and exclusion of certain evidence in Mr. Biden’s trial. Both the prosecution and the defense got some of what they wanted. 

The prosecution will be allowed to introduce a slew of evidence recovered from Mr. Biden’s laptop after he left it at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2018.

Mr. Biden’s attorneys had argued, without citing any evidence, that the first son’s laptop had been tampered with before Special Counsel David Weiss obtained it from the repairman, Mac Isaac, and before he obtained iCloud data from Apple. 

“Defense counsel has numerous reasons to believe the data had been altered and compromised before investigators obtained the electronic material from Apple Inc. and The Mac Shop, such that the Special Counsel’s claim that the underlying data is ‘authentic’ and accurately reflects ‘defendant’s Apple Macbook Pro and hard drive’ is mistaken,” Mr. Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, wrote to the court on May 20. 

Mr. Weiss shot back in his own legal filing that the laptop was real, and that Mr. Biden had no proof showing otherwise. “The defendant’s laptop is real (it will be introduced as a trial exhibit) and it contains significant evidence of the defendant’s guilt,” Mr. Weiss wrote. 

Mr. Weiss plans to call Mr. Biden’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, and his ex-girlfriend and widow of his brother Beau, Hallie Biden, to the stand to discuss the contents of the laptop. Mr. Weiss says Ms. Biden — who was dating Mr. Biden at the time of the gun purchase and disposed of it in a dumpster at a Delaware supermarket — will “authenticate” the messages found on the laptop. 

In another victory for the prosecution, Judge Noreika said that they do not have to prove that Mr. Biden was high on crack cocaine on the day he purchased the firearm in October 2018. Rather, she says they only need to show he was using drugs around the time of the purchase. 

Judge Noreika did hand Mr. Biden’s team a win, however, when she ruled that certain details about his troubled personal life could be excluded from evidence. Mr. Lowell argued that his yearslong paternity dispute with an Arkansas woman, the first son’s discharge from the Navy, and discussions about Mr. Biden’s “extravagant lifestyle” were not relevant to the gun charges, and that they could prove “prejudicial.”

“Mr. Biden moves to exclude any argument, reference, or questioning at trial regarding his alleged spending on an ‘extravagant lifestyle’ during periods that Mr. Biden was suffering from addiction,” Mr. Lowell wrote. He says the special counsel’s prosecutors do not “need to delve into the subject of how much money was spent or whether an event was extravagant.”

At many points in the lead-up to this gun trial, Mr. Biden has tried to get the case thrown out by using a variety of arguments about the legality of Mr. Weiss’ appointment, the constitutionality of the charges themselves, and the alleged influence of congressional Republicans on the investigation. 

Judge Noreika rejected all of those motions to dismiss the charges. When Mr. Biden sought relief from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the jurists said he did not have standing to ask for the charges to be dismissed at this time. 

Mr. Biden will also face charges in California for allegedly failing to file and pay his taxes between 2016 and 2019, ignoring a tax bill of more than $1 million despite having the resources to pay. Judge Mark Scarsi, who is presiding over that case, has pushed the trial to September from June 20, saying that Mr. Biden deserved more time to prepare given that his gun trial was set to happen just days before the California case. 

Mr. Lowell has also asked Judge Scarsi to exclude “salacious” details about Mr. Biden’s life — including the paternity dispute, the Navy discharge, and his “extravagant lifestyle” — from evidence. 

The New York Sun

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