Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Thursday, June 6, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Hunter Biden’s sister-in-law ‘panicked’ upon finding finding gun, drug residue

Hallie Biden, the sister-in-law and former girlfriend of Hunter Biden, told a jury she disposed of the revolver after finding it in Hunter’s truck.

WILMINGTON, Del. (CN) — Hallie Biden, the sister-in-law and former girlfriend of Hunter Biden, testified Thursday about finding the firearm the president’s son is accused of illegally purchasing in 2018 while in the thrall of a crack cocaine addiction.

The witness told the jury on the fourth day of trial that she was cleaning Hunter’s pickup truck the morning of Oct. 23, 2018, as he slept in her Delaware home. The Colt Cobra, a .38 special snub-nosed revolver, was stashed in the truck’s unlocked center console with bullets, remnants of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia, she said.

Hallie Biden — widow of Hunter’s brother, Beau — testified she panicked when she found the weapon. She placed the revolver and bullets in a leather pouch and took it to the grocery store, where she threw it in an outdoor trash can, she said.

“I realize it was a stupid idea now,” she said, adding that she was flustered at the time.

When walking out of the courtroom for break, Hallie turned her head sharply away from Hunter, staring into the corner of the gallery as she passed by him.

Hunter faces three felonies for purchasing and possessing the Colt Cobra. Prosecutors say he lied on a federal form when he purchased the revolver on Oct. 12, 2018, at a gun shop north of Wilmington, Delaware. Hunter claimed on the form he was drug-free at the time, but bank receipts, text messages and his own memoir suggest otherwise, prosecutors say.

The 54-year-old defendant wrote in his memoir, “Beautiful Things,” he suffered an “active addiction” in the four years leading up to March 2019. In text messages, he sometimes used codes while discussing drugs, prosecutors say, including “baby powder,” “party favor” and “chore boy.”

Other times he was more direct.

“I was sleeping on a car smoking crack on 4th Street and Rodney,” read a text message from Oct. 14, 2018.

Hallie Biden confirmed Thursday she received the message from her brother-in-law. In a text message sent a day earlier, Hunter said he was “waiting for a dealer named Mookie,” she testified.

The evidence suggested the defense faced an uphill battle at trial, which has cast a tawdry light on the Biden family as its patriarch campaigns for reelection.

Attorney Abbe Lowell cross-examined Hallie Biden for the defense. She admitted she had never explicitly seen the president’s son smoke crack around the time he bought the firearm. Hunter also frequently lied regarding his whereabouts and activities, she said.

Defense attorneys expect to begin presenting their case on Friday, after prosecutors call on two witnesses — an FBI chemist and a drug expert — to testify. Lowell said he planned to present "maybe two or three" witnesses, adding that he had not decided whether Hunter Biden will testify.

Lowell, a prominent Washington, D.C.-based attorney for Winston & Strawn, argued Wednesday that references in Hunter’s memoir to a “relapse” shortly before the gun purchase could refer to alcohol alone.

The attorney submitted bank statements that showed his client conducted eight separate transactions at liquor stores in October 2018. Hunter sent a text message on Nov. 8, 2018, to his sister-in-law, Hallie Biden, that read: “Im a drunk.”

Lead prosecutor Derek Hines pointed out the defendant also made frequent cash withdrawals at the time.

“Do drug dealers accept credit cards?” Hines asked FBI special agent Erika Jensen on Wednesday. “Not in my experience,” the agent replied.

Hunter Biden’s ex-wife Kathleen Buhle testified Wednesday she learned her husband used drugs in July 2015 after she found a crack pipe on the couple’s porch in Washington, D.C. When confronted, Biden admitted he was smoking crack, she said, although she never witnessed it.

Zoe Kesten, a fashion designer and Hunter Biden’s former girlfriend, described drug-fueled hotel stays with the president’s son. She said he was still using crack-cocaine during a visit in Malibu, California, in September 2018, less than a month before he bought the gun.

Hunter Biden is charged with lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false claim on a federal firearms application and illegally possessing a firearm.

He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Follow @SteveGarrisonPC
Categories / Criminal, National, Politics, Trials

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.