Hunter Biden Lawyers Question Ex-Wife, Girlfriend on Drug Use

(Bloomberg) -- On a day highlighted by testimony from Hunter Biden’s ex-wife and a former girlfriend, his defense lawyer tried to question if key witnesses at the criminal trial in Delaware specifically knew whether the president’s son was under the influence of drugs when he bought a gun.

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In questioning of government witnesses Wednesday, defense attorney Abbe Lowell tried to raise doubts for jurors who must decide whether Biden, 54, illegally purchased a gun in October 2018 while in the throes of drug addiction and lied about it on a form he signed to purchase the weapon.

In particular, Lowell got an FBI agent to say she had no personal knowledge that texts Biden sent in the days after he bought the gun were true. For example, in two texts, Biden says he was smoking crack or waiting for a drug dealer. But Lowell raised the possibility Hunter Biden, the lone surviving son of President Joe Biden, was lying when he sent the texts.

Prosecutors for Special Counsel David Weiss spent much of Wednesday, the third day of the trial, presenting evidence of the younger Biden’s drug use, including testimony from his ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle. and former girlfriend Zoe Kestan.

Kestan described Hunter’s drug-fueled lifestyle during 2018, including when they stayed at the luxury Chateau Marmont hotel in West Hollywood for a month. The hotel’s website says the most expensive room currently goes for $885 per night, which would be $26,550 for a month.

Kestan said Biden was often smoking crack about every 20 minutes during 2018. The prosecution showed pictures of him with crack pipes, including one of him in a soapy bathtub.

“The behaviors you saw are consistent with what your understanding of an addict would be?” prosecutor Leo Wise asked. Kestan answered yes.

However, Kestan conceded she did not see Biden using drugs during the month when he bought the gun because the two were estranged during that time. Prosecutors allege Biden lied on the form he filled out to get the gun, saying he wasn’t a user of, or addicted to, illegal drugs.

Lowell pushed a counter argument that Biden was relapsing with regard to his alcohol addiction at the time he bought the gun, which isn’t illegal.

Biden’s defense also appears to hinge on a technical reading of firearm laws and the form he filled out to buy the gun when he answered “no” to a question about whether he was an active unlawful user of any controlled substance. Lowell said the law prohibits someone who “is” using drugs from buying a gun, and the form asks an applicant if they “are” a user of drugs.

The man who sold Biden the gun testified he saw Biden check “no” to the question on the form. The seller will resume his testimony tomorrow, and prosecutors told the judge they may rest their case Thursday.

Lowell also got the FBI agent to say she didn’t know what Biden spent large cash withdrawals on in the weeks before and after he bought the gun. Lowell indicated the cash could have been used to pay for treatment to keep himself off drugs or for alimony or other purposes.

Biden’s ex-wife was on the stand briefly. Buhle said she found drugs and paraphernalia in Biden’s car between 2015 and 2019. But on cross examination she conceded she doesn’t remember the exact dates or whether that included October 2018. She said she never saw Hunter use drugs.

The criminal trial is the first of two for Hunter Biden. Another on tax charges is scheduled for September in Los Angeles.

Criminal Referrals

Separate from the trial on Wednesday, the Republican chairmen of three House committees sent criminal referrals to the US Justice Department recommending Hunter Biden and James Biden, the president’s brother, be charged with making false statements to Congress.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith and Oversight and Accountability Committee chairman James Comer underscore in their referral letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Weiss that their panels continue to investigate whether grounds exist to draft articles of impeachment against the president. They claim “materially false statements” by Hunter and James Biden appear to be “a conscious, calculated effort” to insulate the president from deeper inquiry into his direct knowledge of and role in alleged family influence peddling schemes.

--With assistance from Billy House.

(Updates with trial timing in the 11th paragraph.)

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