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Special counsel David Weiss says Hunter Biden verdict about "illegal choices," not addiction

Special counsel on Hunter Biden verdict
Special counsel David Weiss on Hunter Biden guilty verdict 10:30

Washington — Special counsel David Weiss commented Tuesday afternoon on the guilty verdict in Hunter Biden's gun trial, saying the case "was about the illegal choices" he made while battling a drug addiction. 

"While there has been much testimony about the defendant's use of drugs and alcohol, ultimately, this case was not just about addiction, a disease that haunts families across the United States, including Hunter Biden's family," Weiss said in a three-minute statement. 

"This case was about the illegal choices the defendant made while in the throes of addiction — his choice to lie on a government form when he bought a gun and the choice to then possess that gun. It was these choices and the combination of guns and drugs that made his conduct dangerous," he said. 

Earlier Tuesday, after just a few hours of deliberations, a jury found the president's son guilty of all three felony counts stemming from his purchase and possession of a gun while he was addicted to crack cocaine. 

Weiss brought charges against Hunter Biden in September after a proposed plea deal fell apart. Prosecutors said the president's son lied about his drug use on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form when he bought a revolver, speed loader and ammunition at a Delaware gun store on Oct. 12, 2018. 

Hunter Biden possessed the gun for 11 days before his brother's widow, Hallie Biden, with whom he was in a relationship, found it in his truck and discarded it in a trash can outside a grocery store. 

When she went back to retrieve it, the gun was gone. Delaware police later recovered the gun from an elderly man who had been looking for recyclables in the trash can. 

In 2023, Weiss charged Hunter Biden with making a false statement on the application by saying he was not a drug user and lying to a licensed gun dealer. His possession of the gun as he was battling an addiction to illegal drugs was also a violation of federal law. 

Weiss said Tuesday that "no one in this country is above the law," but he added that "Hunter Biden should be no more accountable than any other citizen convicted of this same conduct." 

"The prosecution has been and will continue to be committed to this principle," Weiss said. 

Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison. 

"I am more grateful today for the love and support I experienced this last week from Melissa, my family, my friends, and my community than I am disappointed by the outcome," Hunter Biden said in a statement after the verdict. "Recovery is possible by the grace of God, and I am blessed to experience that gift one day at a time."

The case is the first time the child of a sitting president has been convicted of crime. 

President Biden said in a statement that he "will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal." 

"Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today. So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery," the president said. "Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that." 

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