Hunter Biden not likely to be acquitted, but jury sympathy cannot be dismissed: report

 June 7, 2024

Hunter Biden is unlikely to be acquitted of federal gun charges despite the favorable venue in Wilmington, Delaware, a city where the Biden family has long resided. 

The evidence that Biden lied about his drug addiction to purchase an illegal firearm is simply too overwhelming for jurors to ignore, former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told the Washington Times.

Prosecution rests

The prosecution rested its case on Friday after several days of testimony.

Biden's defense lawyer Abbe Lowell has sought to raise doubt about Biden's drug use, but it has proven a steep challenge, with photos, texts, and eyewitnesses painting Biden as constantly seeking out his next high.

On the other hand, Biden has some factors working in his favor. He is the son of the U.S. president, after all, and the courthouse is in a town that has long been associated with the Biden family.

Biden's family members, including First Lady Jill Biden, have been present in court, in what some see as an improper attempt to influence the jury.

Sympathy strategy

Some of Biden's family members were "fighting off tears" when prosecutors played an audio recording of Hunter Biden's memoir.

Several of the jurors have family members who have abused drugs, so evoking sympathy for Hunter Biden may come with a payoff.

The Biden family surely knows that drug addiction is a widespread problem in America. In a statement before the trial began, Joe Biden highlighted his son's "inspiring" recovery.

Phil Holloway, a legal analyst and podcaster, said sympathy for Hunter Biden may rule out a conviction.

“I’m not going to rule out a jury nullification because that’s clearly what they are going for,” Holloway said, noting that Wilmington is Biden's "backyard."

Hung jury?

Still, any feelings of affinity that the jurors might have for Biden would not be enough to secure his acquittal, according to Rahmani.

“Hunter’s only possible win is a hung jury and a mistrial because of juror sympathy or politics. An acquittal isn’t a possibility,” Rahmani said.

The limits of a sympathy strategy could be tested when Biden goes on trial in September for cheating on his taxes.

If Hunter Biden is found guilty of felony gun crimes, his father has said he would not extend a pardon.

It comes as Biden has sought to identify himself as a champion of the "rule of law" following the conviction of his rival, Donald Trump, by a jury in deeply Democratic Manhattan.

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