Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (2024)

Table of Contents
Jurors wrap up for the day What comes next? Jury begins deliberations Judge reads jury instructions before deliberations begin Prosecutor calls Naomi Biden's testimony 'uncomfortable' and says government proved its case 'seven ways to Sunday' Defense ends its closing arguments; short break before rebuttal Hunter Biden's attorney contradicts Hallie Biden's testimony about finding the gun Defense places blame on gun store salesmen Hunter Biden's lawyer again takes issue with wording of gun form Hunter Biden lawyer says prosecutors' evidence is based on 'conjecture' Biden family members watch intently during defense 'Poor Hallie': Defense reiterates their argument that Hunter Biden lied to Hallie Biden Hunter Biden lawyer rejects prosecution's repeated 7-Eleven references Hunter Biden's lawyer tries to undercut testimony of client's ex-girlfriend Abbe Lowell pushes back against prosecution's use of Hunter Biden's book Defense says government has fallen short of its burden of proof and ‘it's time to end this case’ Defense lawyer says prosecution downplaying key part of gun form Prosecutors say of Naomi Biden’s testimony about late-night texts, ‘This isn’t OK’ Prosecution presents calendar showing Hunter Biden's daily messages about his drug use Prosecutors use Hunter Biden’s own words against him, despite his not testifying Prosecutor says jury 'could convict' on testimony from Hunter Biden's ex-girlfriend alone Evidence shows Hunter Biden 'knew he was using drugs,' prosecutor says When Biden answered 'no' on drug use, he 'knew the statement was false,' prosecutor says Prosecution says evidence against Hunter Biden is ‘ugly’ and ‘overwhelming’ Prosecution begins closing arguments: 'No one is above the law' What happens next if Hunter Biden is convicted? Court breaks for lunch Judge begins reading jury instructions Prosecutors rest their rebuttal case Hunter Biden lawyer Abbe Lowell questions FBI agent about location data Defense lawyer presses FBI agent on location of 7-Eleven FBI agent testifies about Hunter Biden texts to Hallie Biden Prosecution calls back FBI agent who previously testified Defense team rests Lawyers still deliberating Lawyers finish discussions on jury instructions and verdict form What sentence could Hunter Biden face if convicted? Would Joe Biden pardon his son? President Biden to spend part of the day in Wilmington Defense attorney indicates Hunter Biden won't testify Parties discuss jury instructions Takeaways from Day 5 of Hunter Biden’s firearms trial Hunter Biden arrives at court What's expected this morning Defense team requests changes to jury instructions Here's what to expect today Here's what you missed Friday

Jurors wrap up for the day

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (1)

Gary Grumbach

Zoë Richards

Gary Grumbach and Zoë Richards

Jurors finished for the day at roughly 4:32 p.m. without a verdict. They will return to court to continue deliberations tomorrow at 9 a.m.

What comes next?

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (3)

Gary Grumbach

Zoë Richards

Gary Grumbach and Zoë Richards

Judge Noreika said the court will not be bringing the jury into the courtroom at the beginning or end of the day during deliberations for typical instructions including about whether jurors have talked to anyone about the case.

A clerk is likely to alert when they are finished deliberating for the day.

Jury begins deliberations

Zoë Richards

The jury began deliberations around 3:32 p.m. As Judge Noreika sent the jurors back to the jury room to deliberate, she told alternate jurors to stick around the courtroom in case they are needed.

Judge reads jury instructions before deliberations begin

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (5)

Gary Grumbach

Zoë Richards

Gary Grumbach and Zoë Richards

Judge Maryellen Noreika has begun reading instructions for the jury ahead of deliberations. The instructions are roughly 30 pages long.

Prosecutor calls Naomi Biden's testimony 'uncomfortable' and says government proved its case 'seven ways to Sunday'

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (7)
Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (8)

Gary Grumbach

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Gary Grumbach and Rebecca Shabad

Prosecutor Derek Hines delivered the rebuttal for the prosecution, saying, “Nothing Mr. Lowell said undermined what Mr. Wise said in his closing.”

“Mr. Lowell suggested you have this man’s life in your hands. You don’t have this man’s life in your hands,” Hines said. “He keeps saying he’s telling you a story. … That’s exactly what he’s done in this case. It’s simply a story. A fictional story.”

“Who called the defendant’s daughter as a witness in this case?” “Not us,” Hines said, as he called Naomi Biden’s testimony “uncomfortable.”

Hines said he believes the prosecution has proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt “seven ways to Sunday.”

Defense ends its closing arguments; short break before rebuttal

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Reporting from Wilmington, Del.

Lowell wrapped his close at 2:37 p.m. We are taking a 15-minute break before the court reconvenes for the government’s rebuttal closing argument.

Hunter Biden's attorney contradicts Hallie Biden's testimony about finding the gun

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (11)

Owen Hayes

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Owen Hayes and Rebecca Shabad

Hunter Biden attorney Abbe Lowell talked about how Hunter Biden handled the gun when he had it, keeping it in a lockbox, unloaded.

That was the case until Oct. 23, 2018, when Hallie Biden found the gun.

“On Oct. 23, Hallie did something incredibly stupid,” Lowell said, slamming Hallie Biden for deciding to take the gun, bullets and speedloader out of what he characterized as a locked safe in the car, put all of that in a plastic gift bag and dump it in an open trash can at a grocery store.

Lowell argued that Hallie Biden's testimony that the car safe was “broken” contradicts testimony from Naomi Biden, who testified that it was fine days previously when she had the car. Lowell suggested that instead, Hallie Biden broke into the safe using a code she knew.

After Hallie Biden told Hunter Biden she threw the gun out, he told her to go find it, Lowell said, highlighting that the guy the government said was using drugs, was nonfunctional and is "dangerous to the public safety" ... "is the very person" who told her to file a police report, Lowell said.

Defense places blame on gun store salesmen

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (13)

Owen Hayes

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Owen Hayes and Rebecca Shabad

The defense placed more blame on the gun store salesmen, portraying Gordon Cleveland as someone willing to bend the rules to make a sale.

Lowell re-read Cleveland’s testimony that he was the one who explained the handgun selection and speed loader to Hunter Biden. Lowell also said that the issue of how Hunter Biden’s ID was handled is not “irrelevant” as the prosecution argued.

Lowell walked through some of the conflicting testimony from the two gun shop employees and the store owner about how they dealt with Biden's lack of a second form of ID with an address.

Lowell said that's connected to the materiality element of the charge against Hunter Biden — that he lied in a way that was material to the handgun purchase — in that it paints the picture that any of Biden's answers on the form were not material to the purchase because they wanted to get the sale done and do it quickly.

Hunter Biden's lawyer again takes issue with wording of gun form

Owen Hayes

Reporting from Wilmington, Del.

Lowell also reiterated a point that has become central to the defense: On the ATF form that the government says Hunter Biden lied on, the question about drug use asks the potential buyer “are you” a drug user as opposed to “have you” ever used drugs.

Lowell emphasized that the form distinguishes between past and present tense when listing some of the criteria that could disqualify someone from buying a gun. “That form knows how to ask that question,” he said.

And there are definitions for several questions, but Lowell said it’s “undisputed” that there is no definition for what 11e asks, and what qualifies someone as a drug user or addict.

So Hunter Biden, who just returned from and was engaging with his family in a way he wouldn’t while using drugs, “what would he see? Not a question in the past tense. In the present tense,” Lowell said. And knowing he was working on his sobriety, Hunter Biden answered no, Lowell added.

Hunter Biden lawyer says prosecutors' evidence is based on 'conjecture'

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (15)

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Daniel Barnes and Rebecca Shabad

Hunter Biden's lawyer Abbe Lowell suggested prosecutors were engaging in "conjecture" in focusing on the drug residue on the pouch that held Hunter Biden's gun, Biden's withdrawal of large amounts of cash, and his reference to having suffered a "relapse."

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not “speculation or conjecture,” Lowell said.

Hunter Biden's reference to a recent “relapse” in 2018 actually had to do with alcoholism, not crack, Lowell said, returning to the liquor store receipts he introduced earlier in the trial.

Lowell then returned to the day of the gun purchase, telling the jury that Hunter Biden had gone out that day to go to the AT&T store and ended up in the gun shop across the parking lot intending to kill time.

Biden family members watch intently during defense

Gary Grumbach

Reporting from Wilmington, Del.

The Biden women — including the first lady; Hunter Biden’s wife, Melissa Cohen-Biden; and his sister Ashley Biden — sit in the front row of the defense side of the courtroom, angled toward Lowell at the lectern and the jury. They are all watching carefully, like a tennis match between Lowell and the screen with slides.

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'Poor Hallie': Defense reiterates their argument that Hunter Biden lied to Hallie Biden

Gary Grumbach

Reporting from Wilmington, Del.

The defense reiterated their point that the jury shouldn't rely on Hallie Biden's testimony as proof of Hunter Biden's whereabouts because he lied to her to avoid seeing her.

"Poor Hallie Biden," Lowell said when describing her testimony.

“You don’t need an Uber to go from the driveway into the house,” he said, referring to when she said she took an Uber around Oct. 23 time frame. She was not with him that morning, Lowell reminded the jury.

On the text message to Hallie Biden from Hunter Biden where he said he was in New Castle when she asked where he was: “He wasn’t thinking that five years later he’d be sitting in a courtroom trying to explain how they talk to each other.”

Hunter Biden lawyer rejects prosecution's repeated 7-Eleven references

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (20)
Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (21)

Gary Grumbach

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Gary Grumbach and Rebecca Shabad

Hunter Biden lawyer Abbe Lowell pushed back on the prosecution's repeated 7-Eleven references.

“They want to give you the inference that what he was doing that morning was buying drugs,” Lowell said. “Not a cup of coffee.”

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (24)

Hunter Biden's lawyer tries to undercut testimony of client's ex-girlfriend

Owen Hayes

Reporting from Wilmington, Del.

Hunter Biden's lawyer Abbe Lowell tried to undercut the testimony of Zoe Kestan, Biden's ex-girlfriend, who recalled Biden using drugs in Malibu in late September 2018, a major part of Wise’s closing argument.

“Even then, that’s a few weeks before his return” to Delaware, Lowell said.

Lowell pointed to evidence for Biden’s sobriety in that period, including invoices for his “sober companion” and his daughter, Naomi, coming to visit him in Los Angeles with her now-husband Peter Neal.

“No pipes, no scales, no drugs, not even alcohol,” Lowell said of Kestan’s testimony about the specific time period in question.

Abbe Lowell pushes back against prosecution's use of Hunter Biden's book

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (25)

Owen Hayes

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Owen Hayes and Rebecca Shabad

Hunter Biden lawyer Abbe Lowell pushed back against the prosecution's use of Hunter Biden's book during the trial.

Lowell said the book only captures his journey looking back and "it was not a diary entry."

Lowell argued that Hunter Biden's writing about being an addict in the book, which was published in 2021, doesn’t mean he knew he was an addict during the period he described from 2015 to 2019.

“As agent Jensen said, it was not a diary entry,” Lowell said.

Defense says government has fallen short of its burden of proof and ‘it's time to end this case’

Owen Hayes

Hunter Biden's lawyer Abbe Lowell began the closing argument for the defense by taking issue with the prosecution beginning closing arguments with a reference to his client's mother, sister and other relatives sitting in court (specifically, prosecutor Leo Wise told the jury, “People sitting in the gallery are not evidence”).

Lowell moved instead to outline what the prosecution needs to accomplish this case, namely clearing the burden of proof that “stays with the government throughout trial” and eliminating any reasonable doubt, displaying the definitions for burden of proof and reasonable doubt as he did so.

“With this very high burden, it’s time to end this case,” Wise said.

Defense lawyer says prosecution downplaying key part of gun form

Owen Hayes

Lowell went on to say the prosecution took evidence of Hunter Biden’s drug use from the time around this case and used it “like an accordion and shrink it down.”

One key point he communicated to the jurors: Hunter Biden’s state of mind is critical to the counts against him. When the prosecution alleges he made a false statement in counts one and two, Hunter Biden did not believe what he put on the form was false, Lowell argued.

Knowing he was a user of or addicted to drugs at the time also applies to the possession charge against him in count three, Lowell said.

The critical phrase that prosecutors leave out is “knowing,” he said.

Prosecutors say of Naomi Biden’s testimony about late-night texts, ‘This isn’t OK’

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Before wrapping, prosecutor Leo Wise discussed Hunter Biden’s trip to visit his daughter Naomi in New York, reminding jurors about the late-night texts between the father and daughter to arrange a time to bring his truck to him, which Naomi had borrowed.

The purpose of Naomi Biden’s testimony was to show that her father was OK in October 2018, Wise said.

“Well this isn’t OK. Texting at 2:40 in the morning to come to midtown Manhattan to exchange the truck is not OK,” Wise argued.

Prosecution presents calendar showing Hunter Biden's daily messages about his drug use

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (27)
Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (28)

Gary Grumbach

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Gary Grumbach and Rebecca Shabad

Prosecutor Leo Wise brought up a calendar his team made, trying to show that there wasvirtually no time in the lead-up to the gun purchase when Hunter Biden wasn’t texting about drugs.

Wise referred to a calendar of both July 2018 and October 2018 to try to make the point that the number of drug-related messages, and, therefore, apparent drug use, wasn’t all that different in those months.

“This idea that there was heavy drug use and that correlates with many messages” in July “and that doesn’t exist in October” isn’t borne out by the evidence, he said.

Wise then put up a very visually busy calendar, which was color-coded by “drug messages,” “addiction messages,” “drug paraphernalia” and “cash withdrawals.”Nearly every day of October 2018 was colored in some way.

Prosecutors use Hunter Biden’s own words against him, despite his not testifying

Gary Grumbach

Using Hunter Biden’s own words from his memoir and texts against him, prosecutor Leo Wise is trying to prove that he and his team have indeed met their burden of proof.

Prosecutors showed a PowerPoint presentation with titles like “Drug messages October 2018” and “Addiction messages October 2018,” which feels very effective.

As Wise delivers the closing arguments, Hunter Biden's lawyer Abbe Lowell is intently focused on the PowerPoint presentation.

Prosecutor says jury 'could convict' on testimony from Hunter Biden's ex-girlfriend alone

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (32)

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Daniel Barnes and Rebecca Shabad

Prosecutor Leo Wise said the testimony from ex-girlfriend Zoe Kestan was that the defendant used drugs in Malibu in September, a little over two weeks before the defendant bought his gun.

“You could convict on those facts alone,” he said.

He said that Hunter Biden’s drug use started years before the gun purchase and continued for months afterward.

Wise then pivoted to the specific evidence that prosecutors say shows Hunter Biden’s drug use during the month of October 2018 — his own messages.

“We see in these messages him buying drugs, telling other people he was using drugs,” Wise said.

Wise listed messages Hunter exchanged with Hallie Biden from May, June, July and October, which he said show him buying drugs.

Evidence shows Hunter Biden 'knew he was using drugs,' prosecutor says

Gary Grumbach

Wise is continuing to go through counts two and three, and what exactly the government is required to prove.

“The United States must prove the defendant was an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance and he knew it,” Wise said of count three.

"He knew he was using drugs, that’s what the evidence shows," he said.

When Biden answered 'no' on drug use, he 'knew the statement was false,' prosecutor says

Owen Hayes

Prosecutor Leo Wise said that for count one, the first element was agreed to in the stipulation between parties and the second element — Hunter Biden’s alleged false statement — was his answer of “no” to the question on the ATF form asking if he met that element, Wise argued.

Wise said that the defense called two witnesses from the gun shop who had “nothing to do with” who filled out the form. He also said the issue of Hunter Biden’s ID on the day of purchase is “irrelevant” because that’s not what he’s charged with. And he said Biden knew the statement was false because he “knew he was a user of or addicted to crack cocaine.”

Wise referenced the “material” instruction from the jury instructions for the final element, and then moved on to count two.

Prosecution says evidence against Hunter Biden is ‘ugly’ and ‘overwhelming’

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (35)

Owen Hayes

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Owen Hayes and Rebecca Shabad

Prosecutor Leo Wise moved through each of the counts in this case and each of their elements, stating that the U.S. must prove each beyond a reasonable doubt and submitting that they have.

Wise argued that the central issue in this case is whether Hunter Biden was an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance and knew that. He referenced that Abbe Lowell submitted that Hunter Biden abused alcohol since he was a teenager and abused drugs as an adult. Still, the U.S. had to prove that through witness testimony, evidence submitted in the form of messages and even the defendant’s book.

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

Prosecution begins closing arguments: 'No one is above the law'

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Reporting from Wilmington, Del.

Leo Wise is delivering the closing for the prosecution.

“All of this is not evidence,” Wise said while gesturing around the courtroom. “People sitting in the gallery are not evidence.”

You may recognize them from the news or from the community, “but respectfully, none of that matters,” Wise said.

All that matters is the evidence that was introduced during the trial, he said. “No one is above the law,” he added.

What happens next if Hunter Biden is convicted?

Ken Dilanian

If the jury in Wilmington finds Hunter Biden guilty, legal experts say it’s extremely unlikely (bordering on unimaginable) that the judge would place him in custody.

In the federal system, there typically is a two- to three-month delay between conviction and sentencing, during which a confidential pre-sentencing report is prepared by the probation department.The probation officer would interview Hunter Biden as part of that process.

We don’t yet know what the sentencing guidelines would be if he’s convicted on all counts, but one legal expert said they likely would specify around a year in prison. That doesn’t mean, of course, that Hunter Biden would receive that sentence, or any jail sentence.

Court breaks for lunch

Gary Grumbach

The court has taken a break for lunch. Proceedings will resume at 12:05 p.m.

Before they broke, Judge Noreika read 29 pages of the jury instructions, and she will read the remaining three or four pages after closing statements, which will begin after lunch.

Judge begins reading jury instructions

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (39)
Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (40)

Ryan Nobles

Summer Concepcion

Ryan Nobles and Summer Concepcion

Judge Noreika has begun reading the instructions to the jury and said she will read up to the part related to closing arguments.

When she finishes, the court will take a short break for lunch, and closing arguments will begin after that.

Prosecutors rest their rebuttal case

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (43)

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Summer Concepcion

Daniel Barnes and Summer Concepcion

The government rested their rebuttal case at 10:56 a.m. after Jensen's testimony. Closing arguments are set to begin.

Hunter Biden lawyer Abbe Lowell questions FBI agent about location data

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (45)

Owen Hayes

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Owen Hayes and Rebecca Shabad

Hunter Biden's lawyer Abbe Lowell questioned FBI agent Jensen about what location data she had on his client, such as data confirming Biden was at a 7-Eleven store when he said he was.

Jensen said she did not have that. Lowell then asked Jensen to confirm there was nothing about where he was on Oct. 10, 2018, which she confirmed.

Asked if there was location data for when Biden texted telling someone to meet him at 7-Eleven, Jensen said she did not have that either.

Lowell asked about texts with someone identified as Q, asking Jensen to confirm that there was “not a guy named Bernard, not a guy named Mookie?” "Correct,” said Jensen.

Lowell then asked Jensen about texts that Hunter Biden sent Hallie Biden early in the morning of Oct. 16, 2018.

When he texted her “I’m almost there,” Lowell asked Jensen if she knew where Biden was coming from, implying that he could have been coming from visiting his granddaughter Finnegan Biden in Philadelphia.

After Hallie Biden didn’t respond to his texts, location data showed Hunter went to a nearby 7-Eleven store in Wilmington.

Lowell asked: “Was he going there to meet Q or to get a cup of coffee” before Hallie wrote back?

"I don’t know," Jensen responded.

Defense lawyer presses FBI agent on location of 7-Eleven

Owen Hayes

Abbe Lowell began his cross-examination at 10:44 a.m. Lowell asked Jensen “did you check” if there’s a gas station, car wash, liquor store or anything else at the intersection she identified as the location of a 7-Eleven. Jensen said yes, there is a gas station there.

What about location data confirming he was at a 7-Eleven when he said he was? Jensen said she did not have that. And nothing confirms where he was on 10/10/18, Lowell asked. Correct, Jensen said.

And when he texted telling someone to say meet me at 7-Eleven, is there location data for that? Jensen said she did not have that.

And finally, in the texts with someone identified as Q, there was “not a guy named Bernard, not a guy named Mookie?” asked Lowell. “Correct,” said Jensen.

FBI agent testifies about Hunter Biden texts to Hallie Biden

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (47)
Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (48)

Gary Grumbach

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Gary Grumbach and Rebecca Shabad

FBI agent Erika Jensen testified about text messages and geolocation data on Hunter Biden’s phone from the time period in question — mid-October 2018.

On Oct. 10, Jensen said, Hunter Biden sent texts to Hallie Biden about meeting someone at a 7-Eleven convenience store. It is apparent from the context surrounding the messages that the person he was going to meet was a drug dealer.

Another day in October, Hunter Biden texted Hallie Biden about being near the Daniel S. Frawley baseball stadium in Wilmington, waiting for a drug dealer named Mookie.

The prosecution showed references within text messages that were not previously presented, discussing being at or near a 7-Eleven on the 10th, and on the 13th — which is on either side of the gun purchase on the 12th.

On Oct. 16 at 4:16 a.m., location data from Hunter Biden’s phone indicated he was near Hallie Biden’s house. An hour later, his location data indicated he was near a 7-Eleven. Soon after that, he texted Hallie Biden, “Are you up?”

Prosecution calls back FBI agent who previously testified

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (51)

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Daniel Barnes and Rebecca Shabad

Prosecutors have called back FBI agent Erika Jensen as a witness for a brief rebuttal case.

Defense team rests

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Hunter Biden's defense team lawyers have rested their case.

Lawyers still deliberating

Daisy Conant

The parties have been conferring in an extended sidebar for more than 20 minutes. As of 9:25 a.m., the jury was still not in the room.

Lawyers finish discussions on jury instructions and verdict form

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

The parties appear to have concluded their morning discussions over jury instructions and the verdict form. Judge Noreika ruled that they will use the verdict form proposed by the government.

Biden's lawyer Abbe Lowell urged Judge Noreika to include the word “knowingly” in the verdict form but was overruled. Noreika said she would tell the jury to consider the instructions as to each count, which do tell jurors that Hunter had to have “knowingly” made a false statement, but said she would not include that on the verdict form.

“Knowingly is a very key aspect” of the crime, Lowell said, adding that it was the only element of the crime “in dispute.”

What sentence could Hunter Biden face if convicted?

Megan Lebowitz

If he is found guilty, Hunter Biden could face up to 25 years behind bars.

Two of the counts carry maximum sentences of 10 years, and one count has a maximum sentence of five years. Each of the three counts also has a maximum fine of $250,000.

Would Joe Biden pardon his son?

Megan Lebowitz

President Biden confirmed in an ABC News interview last week that he would not pardon his son if Hunter Biden is convicted.

When asked if he would rule out a pardon for his son, Biden said "Yes."

The White House has previously also said that Biden would not pardon his son.

President Biden to spend part of the day in Wilmington

Megan Lebowitz

President Biden will spend most of the day in Wilmington, Delaware, before departing for the White House at around 5 p.m.

Biden will attend a Juneteenth concert at the White House at 7 p.m., where he will deliver remarks.

The president arrived in Wilmington last night after his trip to France.

Defense attorney indicates Hunter Biden won't testify

Gary Grumbach

Hunter Biden's attorney Abbe Lowell has asked Judge Noreika to leave in “did not testify” in the jury instructions as it relates to the defendant, indicating Hunter will not testify.

Judge Noreika decided she will not allow the defense to include their requested “theory of the defense” instruction in the final jury instructions. She called it an “argument” and she said she didn’t think it was “appropriate” for her to say.

She ruled on several minor language additions or subtractions, siding with the prosecution in most of her decisions.

Hunter Biden has a phalanx of supporters in the courtroom today — 15-plus at last count, including first lady Jill Biden; his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden; his sister, Ashley Biden; friend Kevin Morris; his aunt Valerie Biden Owens and her husband, Jack. The women in his family are seated next to one another other directly behind him in a strong show of support.


Parties discuss jury instructions

Owen Hayes

The prosecution and the defense are now meeting with Judge Noreika to discuss finalizing the jury instructions. The jury is not yet in the room.

Takeaways from Day 5 of Hunter Biden’s firearms trial

Katherine Doyle

WILMINGTON, Del. —Hunter Biden’s eldest daughter, Naomi Biden, took the stand in her father’s defense Friday, telling the court how her father appeared to have taken control of his drug use in the months before prosecutors say he lied on a government background check form.

“He seemed like the clearest that I had seen him since my uncle died, and he just seemed really great,” she said of visiting him during a stint in rehab in Los Angeles with her then-boyfriend Peter Neal, who is now her husband.

Hunter Biden wiped away tears as she spoke of how she was proud of him.

Naomi Biden told the court she saw her father again just a couple of months later in New York when he came to pick up his truck after she and Neal had borrowed it.

“He seemed great. He seemed hopeful,” the younger Biden said of the visit, which came during a stretch of time after her father purchased the gun that is at the center of the case against him.

Read the full story here.

Hunter Biden arrives at court

Alexandra Bacallao

Hunter Biden arrived at the courthouse at 8 a.m., followed by his mother, first lady Jill Biden, about 10 minutes later.

His aunt and uncle, Valerie Biden Owens and James Biden, had arrived a little earlier. Brian McGlinchey, a longtime supporter of the family, is also in attendance.

What's expected this morning

Gary Grumbach

After a meeting about jury instructions this morning, we expect the defense either to call Hunter Biden to the stand or to rest its case.

Once his lawyers rest, closing arguments will begin. Prosecutors will go first, followed by the defense. Given that opening statements took just over an hour combined, we do not expect the closing arguments to be particularly lengthy.

After that, Judge Noreika will begin reading jury instructions, which are about 30 pages in length. When Noreika is done, we expect jury deliberations to begin.

Defense team requests changes to jury instructions

Gary Grumbach

Hunter Biden’s attorneys have alerted the court that they want certain changes to Judge Maryellen Noreika’s proposed jury instructions before she delivers them to jurors.

The most significant change is on the topic of the “theory of the defense."

“Mr. Biden’s response to the charges is that he never 'knowingly' either possessed a gun when he thought of himself as a user of drugs or addicted to them and he did not 'knowingly' lie on a form that asked him 'are you' a user or addict because he did not believe he was either a drug user or addict at the time,” Biden’s lawyers want Noreika to tell jurors as part of her instructions.

Biden’s team also took issue with several portions of Noreika’s proposed instructions, arguing that some sections are “unconstitutionally vague.”

Noreika will likely decide on these issues at around 8:15 a.m., when parties are meeting without the jury present to discuss finalizing jury instructions and any other outstanding issues. The jury arrives at 9 a.m.

Hunter Biden and his legal team are deciding whether he will take the stand in the trial in which he is pleading not guilty to an illegal firearm purchase and lying about drug use on a government form. The case could go to the jury for deliberations as soon as this afternoon. NBC News’ Aaron Gilchrist reports.

Here's what to expect today

Megan Lebowitz

Jurors may hear from one more defense witness today. The defense team said Friday that it would make a decision about the "last witness" over the weekend.

The defense lawyers did not name the final potential witness, although it is believed to be Hunter Biden.

Depending on how witness testimony plays out, jurors could hear closing arguments as early as today.

Here's what you missed Friday

Megan Lebowitz

The defense team began calling witnesses Friday after prosecutors rested their case.

Notably, Hunter Biden's daughter Naomi Biden took the stand to discuss her communication with her father, as well as his time in rehab. Jurors also heard from the owner and an employee of the gun shop where Hunter Biden bought the gun.

The jury was dismissed earlier than expected Friday and the defense said it would no longer call James Biden, the president's brother, to testify.

Hunter Biden trial highlights: Jurors dismissed for the day without a verdict after both sides present closing arguments (2024)
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