Hunter Biden's gun trial starts in Delaware, drawing national attention in election year

The trial of US President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden on felony gun charges kicked off with jury selection on Monday in Wilmington.
Hunter Biden's gun trial starts in Delaware, drawing national attention in election year

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, arrives at the federal court on the opening day of his trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, Delaware, US, on June 3, 2024.

The trial of US President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden on felony gun charges kicked off with jury selection on Monday in Wilmington, US state of Delaware, drawing national attention in a contentious election year.

It's the first prosecution for the child of a sitting president in the history of the United States.

Hunter Biden, the youngest son and only surviving son of President Biden, faces three felony gun charges in the historic trial that carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if he's convicted.

The 54-year-old was indicted last September by a federal grand jury on charges related to his purchase of a revolver in October 2018 while he was a drug user.

Those charges include false statement in purchase of a firearm, false statement related to information required to be kept by a federal firearms licensed dealer, and possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.

Hunter Biden, who pleaded not guilty to all three charges, arrived at the courthouse in Wilmington Monday morning for the first day of jury selection in his trial.

US First lady Jill Biden and Hunter Biden's wife Melissa Cohen Biden showed up in person at the courthouse in a show of family support.

Hunter Biden is also facing another criminal trial in Los Angeles on tax fraud charges. A federal judge agreed last month to postpone the trial until September.

President Biden on Monday issued a statement on the trial of his son, saying that "As the President, I don't and won't comment on pending federal cases, but as a Dad, I have boundless love for my son, confidence in him, and respect for his strength."

"Our family has been through a lot together, and Jill and I are going to continue to be there for Hunter and our family with our love and support," he added.

CNN reported that approximately 250 Delaware residents have been summoned for jury service, citing the judge.

Those residents will be whittled down to a panel of 12 seated jurors and four alternates. As part of the selection process, prospective jurors will be asked if they can stay impartial regardless of their views about the 2024 election, according to the report.

Hunter Biden's gun trial came just days after former US President Donald Trump, President Biden's 2024 presidential contender, was found guilty in the first criminal trial of a former president in the US history. Trump was convicted of felony crimes by a jury in New York on Thursday on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a bid to hide hush money payment to a porn star in 2016, shortly before the presidential election.

Hunter Biden's trial "further entrenches the courtroom as a central player in an unorthodox and chaotic presidential election," noted The Washington Post, a major US newspaper published in Washington, D.C., the nation's capital.

"The cases against Trump and Hunter Biden are markedly different, not least because one defendant is seeking the presidency and the other is a private citizen. But both could affect the 2024 election as Republicans seek to tie Biden to his son's legal troubles, and the president's handling of them will be scrutinized closely by voters considering his performance as president and as patriarch," the newspaper noted.

CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley pointed out in a report of the television channel that Hunter Biden's sprawling legal debacles "cut unusually close to the bone because it's the president's son."

"This trial is an albatross around President Biden's neck and weighs very heavily on his psyche," Brinkley added.

The Associated Press reported that Hunter Biden's gun trial "could last up to two weeks and likely include sharp disagreements over evidence as it plays out during his father's reelection campaign."

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