Hunter Biden's Defense Tries to Chip Away at Evidence

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Hunter Biden's attorney Abbe Lowell's strategy, at least in the early portion of Biden's trial, appears to be trying to put reasonable doubt about Hunter Biden's alleged drug use when he purchased a handgun in the minds of the jurors. On Wednesday morning Lowell suggested that Biden may have fallen off the wagon after his stay in a California rehab a few weeks before he purchased a revolver, but that doesn't mean that he was actively using drugs when he bought the gun.

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n cross examination of the FBI agent who introduced several chapters of Hunter Biden’s memoir, defense attorney Abbe Lowell highlighted that the book doesn’t discuss specific drug use at the time of the gun purchase.   

“We used the items that were evidence of addiction,” FBI agent Erika Jensen said in response to Lowell’s questions over the book.  

Jensen did not point to any specific part of the book when Lowell asked if it contained any detailed description of drug use in the fall of 2018, when Biden purchased the firearm.  

The defense is also trying to argue that Biden was abusing alcohol, but not necessarily drugs, in October 2018 when he bought the gun.  

Lowell just showed the jury a $48 payment from October 1, 2018, that Biden made at a place called “Liquor Time Liquors.” 

The federal gun forms ask buyers if they are users of, or addicted to, illegal drugs. It says nothing about alcohol. Lowell said in his opening statement Tuesday that a drunk person could still legally buy a gun.  

There were several liquor purchases that Lowell highlighted from October 2018 in Wilmington during the same month and city where Biden bought the gun.  

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That's a double-edged sword for Lowell, in my opinion. At the very least, it shows that Biden wasn't entirely clean and sober during the time period in question. If he was drinking so soon after he left rehab, might he not also have been abusing drugs? After all, Biden texted his sister-in-law and then-girlfriend Hallie Biden the day after the gun was purchased that he was "waiting on a dealer" named Mookie, and two days after the gun was purchased he again texted Hallie Biden to inform her that he was "smoking crack" in a car. 

Lowell got FBI Agent Erika Jensen to admit that the agency could not independently confirm the accuracy of either text, which Lowell claims Biden sent so he could avoid Hallie Biden. But as I said this morning, if you're really looking for an excuse to avoid someone, why come up with "I'm waiting for a dealer" and "I'm smoking crack" instead of something innocuous like "I've got a doctor's appointment" or "I have to help Dad tie his shoes"? 

Even assuming for the sake of argument that Biden was fibbing when he sent the texts, he still had to give Hallie Biden an excuse that would be believable to her, and this is what he came up with; he was waiting to score, and he was smoking crack. I can understand why he doesn't want the jury to believe those text were statements of facts now, but he most certainly intended the recipient of the texts to believe it then. 

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During his cross examination of Jensen, Lowell also tried to raise doubts about the $50,000 cash withdrawals Hunter Biden was making every month. 

In line with his questioning about the text messages, Lowell sought to delineate what Jensen did and did not know definitively about what the withdrawals were used for.

Asking about the October withdrawals closest to the purchase of the handgun, Lowell questioned whether Jensen had “any idea” if that cash was used for the gun.

Lowell answered that all she could testify to was that the cash was withdrawn and that cash was used to purchase the gun (which the receipt introduced yesterday indicated).

This goes back to Lowell's argument that Biden may have been drinking, but there was no proof he was using or abusing drugs when he bought the gun and attested to not being an "unlawful" user or addicted to drugs on the Form 4473 that was used for his background check. I confess that I'm not familiar with the process of buying crack cocaine, but I suspect that most purchases are cash transactions. $50,000 a month would pay for a lot of cocaine; enough to smoke crack "every fifteen minutes" and still have some left over, I'm guessing. 

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Lowell will continue to try to chip away at each separate bit of evidence brought forward by prosecutors, but based on Biden's own recollection of events and the timeline that prosecutors have laid out his defense attorney has his work cut out for him. Hunter Biden's ex-wife Kathleen Buhle took the stand around 11:30, and we'll have another update on her testimony later this afternoon.  

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