Judge Sets Conditions for Gun Trial of Hunter Biden

Events from defendant's personal life can be excluded as long as he doesn't testify
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 24, 2024 5:05 PM CDT
Judge Sets Conditions for Gun Trial of Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday in Wilmington, Del.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The judge overseeing Hunter Biden's federal firearms charges trial agreed Friday to block prosecutors from telling jurors about certain unflattering episodes from his personal life, but left the door open to allowing them in if the president's son testifies. It's unclear whether the defendant would take the stand during the trial that could last up to two weeks during his father's reelection campaign and likely include sharp disagreements over evidence, the AP reports. President Biden's son is charged with lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun that he kept for about 11 days in Delaware.

The trial is to begin June 3 and could last up to two weeks. Hunter Biden has acknowledged an addiction to crack cocaine during that period, but his lawyers have said he didn't break the law and the case is politically motivated. He didn't speak to reporters as he accompanied his lawyers to and from the Wilmington courthouse for a hearing on Friday. Prosecutors won a victory on a key point as US District Judge Maryellen Noreika found that they wouldn't have to prove that he specifically used drugs on the day of the purchase. She agreed to a defense push to keep out other details about his past, including a child-support case in Arkansas and his dismissal from the Navy after a positive drug test.

If he takes the stand, however, "there's a number of issues that may become more contentious," Noreika said. She also agreed to consider defense questions about the contents of a laptop that he allegedly dropped off at a Delaware repair shop. Biden's attorneys want to raise questions about the authenticity of the laptop's data at trial, per the AP. Prosecutors say that there's no evidence it has been compromised and that a drawn-out fight would be a waste of time. The laptop has been the source of dispute for years after Republicans accessed and disseminated personal data from it. Noreika said she will consider objections to specific pieces of data as the trial unfolds.

(More Hunter Biden stories.)

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