Hunter Biden’s Drug Use on Display as Father Vows Not to Pardon

(Bloomberg) -- Hunter Biden, the only surviving son of President Joe Biden, admitted to being a drug and alcohol addict to his former lover and sent her texts within hours of purchasing a gun indicating that he was buying and using crack cocaine.

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The dramatic testimony highlighted the fourth day of Hunter Biden’s trial in Delaware on the charges brought by Special Counsel David Weiss over his purchase of a gun in mid-October 2018. Separately, Biden’s father said he doesn’t intend to pardon his son if he’s convicted of federal firearms violations.

Hallie Biden, Hunter’s sister-in-law who later became his lover, testified that she regularly begged him to go into treatment for crack cocaine and alcohol addiction. But he kept “running away like a child,” she said.

“This has all got to stop,” Hallie Biden said she told Hunter. “Check yourself into a rehab.” She had been married to Hunter’s brother Beau, who died of cancer in 2015. She later had a romantic relationship with Hunter, who is accused of illegally buying and possessing a gun while using drugs.

Hallie Biden said she personally saw him smoke crack on several occasions and even joined him in using the drug during the summer of 2018. But she became fearful after finding the pistol in his car. She said she didn’t want him to hurt himself or for her children to get their hands on the weapon, so she threw it in a grocery store trash can.

Hunter Biden acknowledged in a text to her shortly after buying the pistol that he was a “drunk and an addict.” That’s potentially useful testimony for prosecutors trying to convince jurors that he was in the throes of drug use when he bought the gun and checked “no” on a federal form asking if he was a user of illegal drugs.

Prosecutors pointed to two texts that Hunter Biden sent Hallie after he bought the gun on Oct. 12, 2018. In one Oct. 23 text, Hunter Biden said he was waiting for a “dealer named Mookie” in Wilmington, Delaware. In a text on Oct. 14, he wrote, “I was sleeping on a car smoking crack.” Hunter’s lawyers have argued that perhaps he was lying in the texts.

In testimony that could help his defense, Hallie Biden wasn’t able to say whether Hunter Biden was on drugs the day he bought the gun. She said she couldn’t recall seeing Hunter Oct. 6 to Oct. 12. She also said she did not see him use drugs between Oct. 12 and Oct. 23.

Meanwhile, the president said he’d respect the jury’s verdict in the case and had ruled out a pardon for his son if he’s convicted, according to a transcript of an interview the elder Biden did with ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir.

Prosecutors in the gun case say they only have to show that Hunter Biden was a user of illegal drugs around the time he bought the gun. Hunter Biden’s lawyers argue that Hunter didn’t knowingly lie when he filled out the form and bought the gun.

Hallie Biden is a key witness for the prosecution. After her husband’s death, she had an affair with Hunter Biden while he was married to another woman.

Hallie Biden found the gun in Hunter’s vehicle 11 days after he bought it. She said she had gone into the car to clean it out, but discovered “some remnants of crack cocaine and some paraphernalia” and then the gun. She put the gun in a pouch she found in the vehicle, which prosecutors say later was tested and determined to have traces of cocaine.

In describing how she disposed of the gun, she said, “I realize it was a stupid move now, but I was in a panic.”

Hallie Biden said she wasn’t sure if Hunter Biden was using drugs on the day she found the gun, but said he exhibited signs of it that included looking like he hadn’t slept in awhile.

As for her own drug use, Hallie Biden said she stopped in August 2018.

“It was a terrible experience that I went through and I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” she said. “I regret that portion of my life.”

Hunter Biden’s gun was found in a trashcan by an elderly man who regularly picked through trash for recyclable materials he could sell. Prosecutors called the man, Edward Banner, as a witness. Banner said after he found the gun and the pouch, he took them home, put them in a closet and never touched them again. He later turned the gun and pouch over to a police detective who tracked him down.

Prosecutors asked Banner if anyone in his house used cocaine, to which he said no. That’s a potentially important piece of evidence if Hunter Biden’s defense tries to argue that the trace cocaine found on the pouch was put there after the gun was thrown away.

(Updates with more testimony, Joe Biden saying he won’t pardon son if he’s convicted.)

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