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Hunter Biden found guilty on all counts in gun case

Hunter Biden arrives with his wife Melissa Cohen Biden at the federal court for his trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, Delaware, on June 10, 2024.
Last night the jury was split in half. Juror tells CNN what changed
03:49 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • A federal jury found Hunter Biden guilty Tuesday on all three federal felony gun charges he faced, concluding that he violated laws meant to prevent drug addicts from owning firearms.
  • The conviction marks the first time a president’s immediate family member has been found guilty of a crime during their father’s term in office, though his crimes predate Joe Biden’s tenure as president.
  • In a statement, Hunter Biden said he was “disappointed” by the guilty verdict but “grateful” for his family’s love. President Biden expressed support for his son in a statement and said he would “respect the judicial process.”
  • Hunter Biden could face up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000 at sentencing, though he likely will receive far less than the maximum as a first-time offender. The judge said sentencing is usually set for 120 days following a verdict, which means it is likely to happen before Election Day.

Our live coverage of the trial has concluded. Please scroll below for details on the verdict and the aftermath.

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Catch up on everything you need to know after Hunter Biden was convicted on federal gun charges

Hunter Biden departs from federal court on Tuesday, in Wilmington, Delaware.

A federal jury has convicted Hunter Biden on all three federal felony gun charges he faced, concluding that he violated laws meant to prevent drug addicts from owning firearms.

The conviction marks the first time a president’s immediate family member has been found guilty of a crime during their father’s term in office, though his crimes predate Joe Biden’s tenure as president.

The jury, which deliberated for just under three hours, returned guilty verdicts on all three charges, which stemmed from a revolver Hunter Biden bought in October 2018 at a Delaware gun shop.

Here’s what we know:

  • The charges: The first two counts were for lying about his drug use on a federal background check form, and the third count was for possessing a gun while addicted to, or using, illegal drugs. The judge said sentencing is usually set for 120 days following a verdict. Hunter Biden could face up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000 at sentencing, though he likely will receive far less as a first-time offender. 
  • Hunter Biden: Following the verdict, Hunter Biden said he is “more grateful for the love and support” of his family than he is “disappointed by the outcome.” His attorney, Abbe Lowell, said they would continue to “vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available to Hunter.”
  • Joe Biden: In a statement, the president reiterated his role as a father seeking to support his son after the conviction. “As I said last week, I am the President, but I am also a Dad. Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today,” he said.
  • David Weiss: The special counsel said the case was “not just about addiction” but about the “illegal choices” Hunter Biden made while he was using drugs. He reiterated that no one is above the law, even the president’s son. Weiss thanked the jury, prosecutors and the US attorney general.
  • Inside the deliberation room: When deliberations first began Monday afternoon, the jury was split, according to one juror who spoke to CNN. After discussing the elements of each crime, they were ready to return a unanimous verdict Tuesday, the juror said. Three jurors who spoke to CNN said they believed they had no choice but to find Hunter Biden guilty, but one said the case “seemed like a waste of taxpayer dollars.”
  • What else jurors said: One juror told CNN, “I really don’t think that Hunter belongs in jail.” The juror said they were mainly focused on evidence, not Hunter Biden’s lifestyle, adding that politics did not come up. The man said the jurors felt bad that Naomi Biden, Hunter’s daughter, was called to testify. He said, in his opinion, it was a mistake to put her on the stand.

President Biden hugs his son after arriving in Delaware

President Joe Biden hugs his son Hunter Biden upon arrival at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, on June 11, as he travels to Wilmington, Delaware.

President Joe Biden hugged his son Hunter Biden after the president landed at the Delaware Air National Guard base on Tuesday.

The embrace came hours after a jury found Hunter Biden guilty of all three federal felony gun charges he faced, concluding that he violated laws meant to prevent drug addicts from owning firearms.

After the plane landed, video showed Hunter Biden, his son Beau and his wife Melissa walking across the tarmac to greet the president.

The headline and post were updated with more details.

Republican senators react to Hunter Biden's conviction

Senate Republicans uniformly said Tuesday that the guilty verdict in the Hunter Biden gun case shows the justice system worked and they brushed away questions that the conviction shows that GOP claims of selective prosecution are politically motivated. 

Here’s what some senators told CNN:

Sen. John Thune: “Hunter Biden’s not running for any political office. Donald Trump’s running for president. There are all kinds of different dynamics in two totally different cases,” he said. “The clear thing in the (Trump) New York case, I mean, there’s no argument. … This is politically motivated. The prosecutor ran, he got up there, got the job on the predicate of trying to prosecute the former president.”

Sen. Rick Scott: “First, in this case, this is existing law that people have been prosecuted before and they’ve been connected before, and they’ve been sentenced before,” he said. “In the case of (Donald) Trump, they’ve made up something brand new that nobody’s been prosecuted before. And it was complete political persecution.”

“No one’s ever been persecuted the way Trump was persecuted in New York. No one. No one in this country,” he said.

Sen. Josh Hawley: “Let’s remember that DOJ initially wanted to do a plea bargain (with Hunter Biden), had a plea bargain with him, as sort of a sweetheart deal and did not want to prosecute this case. I mean, so I think it exposes the fact that DOJ was ready to sweep this under the rug,” the Missouri lawmaker said. “And as it turns out, it was a slam dunk case, which, by the way, is nothing to celebrate. I mean, it’s like it’s not, it’s not a good thing that he’s guilty.”

With contributions from CNN’s Sam Fossum, Manu Raju and Kristin Wilson

Jury mainly focused on evidence, not Hunter Biden's lifestyle, juror tells CNN

A juror told CNN that the jury mainly focused on evidence, not Hunter Biden’s lifestyle, during deliberations in his trial on federal gun charges.

Juror 10 said he felt sad about how Hunter Biden’s life had turned out, even though it wasn’t discussed in detail.

The juror said he based his decision on the fact that Hunter Biden did not disclose that he was a drug addict when he bought the gun.

“When you look at that form, ‘Are you a drug addict, are you an unlawful user of drugs,’ and he said no,” the juror said quoting the ATF form Hunter Biden was convicted of lying on. “Clearly, he lied.”

Jurors thoroughly discussed each legal standard that needed to be met by prosecutors to find Hunter Biden guilty, they finally concluded that he was guilty, he said.

“Hunter did get a fair trial,” the juror said, adding that the Biden family was “not at all” discussed during deliberations.

“We didn’t use Jill. We didn’t use President Biden,” he said. The president’s “name was only brought up once during the trial.”

This post was updated with additional comments from the juror.

Sen. Mitch McConnell writes op-ed seeming to argue against special counsels

Sen. Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate Chamber at the capitol on Tuesday, June 11.

In a fairly dense Wall Street Journal op-ed, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell argued that special counsels are giving away too much power in the judiciary by transferring power to bureaucrats and decentralizing it from those who should have responsibility like Attorney General Merrick Garland.

As an example, McConnell appears to criticize the use of special counsels under Garland.

“This misbegotten trust in bureaucrats also undermines democratic legitimacy in the executive branch. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed three different ‘special counsels’ who operate outside the normal chain of command at the Justice Department to ensure prosecutorial ‘independence,’” McConnell wrote.

He said, “What gives federal prosecution legitimacy is that it is vested in an elected branch of government.”

Meanwhile, Trump said during pre-sentencing interview he had a gun in Florida, weeks after his conviction

Meanwhile, the New York City Department of Probation officials have questioned former President Donald Trump about an additional gun that had been registered to him in New York and his access to firearms as part of their pre-sentencing interview, a city official briefed on the exchange said.

The former president was convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records at the end of last month. Possession of firearms or ammunition by a convicted felon is a federal crime.

According to the official, Trump said that there was a gun in Florida, which is believed to be one of the three weapons listed on his New York City permit to carry concealed weapons. 

CNN has previously reported that two of the three pistols he was licensed to carry were turned over to the NYPD on March 31, 2023, and a third gun listed on Trump’s license “was lawfully moved to Florida.” Contacted by CNN last week, Palm Beach police said that they were unaware of any gun that Trump might have and that none had been turned over to the department since his felony conviction. 

Trump’s New York gun license was suspended after his arrest in 2023 by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and, now as a result of his conviction, his license is being revoked, according to New York City Police. A New York official briefed on the probation investigation said the information on the outstanding gun “will be referred to local authorities in Florida to take whatever steps are necessary.”

CNN has asked representatives for Trump about the status of the gun. 

President's handling of Hunter Biden conviction "shows the difference" between parties, Ocasio-Cortez says

Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked Republicans after the Hunter Biden guilty verdict and said that President Joe Biden’s handling of the case “shows the difference” between the two parties. 

Asked if she was concerned the guilty verdict would hurt the president, Ocasio-Cortez said: “I don’t think so. Because the president is not weaponizing” and abusing his power, instead he is “respecting the judicial system as it’s working and is accepting the outcome of the trial.”

House Democrats and Republicans debate whether Hunter Biden's and Trump's verdicts are comparable

House Republicans and Democrats debated Tuesday whether Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict on federal gun charges could be compared to former President Donald Trump’s conviction in his hush money trial.

During a House Rules Committee meeting Tuesday, Democrats said they respect the verdict and the rule of law, while Republicans argued the two cases could not be compared equally.

GOP Rep. Harriet Hageman of Wyoming argued that because the judge overseeing Trump’s trial was “handpicked” and expert witnesses were excluded from testifying, there were “clear differences” between the two cases.

GOP Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia argued the jury pool in Trump’s New York case was already stacked against the former president compared with the jury in Hunter Biden’s case.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland contrasted how Democrats have been largely silent in the wake of Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict with how Republicans have mobilized to attack the Department of Justice after Trump’s conviction.

Runners helped get news from the Hunter Biden trial out of the courthouse

CNN's Macayla Cook runs to deliver the news about the verdict in Hunter Biden's trial on June 11, in Wilmington, Delaware.

CNN relied on a system of runners to get notes from reporters watching the Hunter Biden trial to the world in real-time. Here’s one runner’s description:

As a journalism student at the University of Delaware preparing for my final year of college before the real world, I jumped at the chance when one of my journalism professors sent me a text asking if I wanted to work for CNN.

There’s a very strict policy on electronics in the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building that prohibits the usage of laptops and phones inside. This policy may have been a hassle, but I’m ultimately grateful for it, as it’s the reason I had a job during the trial.

My title of runner was extremely literal. I took notes from reporters in the courtroom and delivered them to a team of producers on the ground. This is how CNN and many other media outlets maintained live updates during the trial — it was thanks to runners like me.

Day after day, I was tasked with carrying notes bearing the latest national news up and down three flights of stairs, which was a tedious task when the trial was slow and an utterly invigorating one when it wasn’t.

By the end of the trial, I was on a first-name basis with nearly all of the security guards. It all paid off though when we finally got to the verdict, and I believe I may have sprinted faster than I ever had to get that note to our producers on the ground.

If all goes according to plan, this will be far from the last court case I cover, but I would call this a pretty solid first trial.

President Biden doesn't mention son's conviction in first public appearance since the jury's verdict

President Joe Biden speaks to Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund's "Gun Sense University," at the Washington Hilton, on Tuesday, June 11, in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday heralded the steps his administration has taken to strengthen gun laws in the United States and enhance the penalties for those who violate them — offering a somewhat awkward juxtaposition for a president whose son had been convicted just hours earlier on federal gun charges.

Speaking at an Everytown for Gun Safety event in Washington, DC, the president did not reference Hunter Biden’s conviction. He did briefly appear to become emotional while referencing the times he’s spoken with families who have lost loved ones in mass shootings.

The president is set to depart for Wilmington, Delaware, where his son is, after the event.

Joe Biden was not originally scheduled to travel to Wilmington on Tuesday, but the White House updated his schedule after Hunter Biden’s conviction.

House GOP redirect attention to Hunter Biden's financial dealings and tax evasion

Rep. James Comer walks on the House side of the US Capitol on May 14, in Washington, DC.

House Oversight Chairman James Comer called the guilty verdict against Hunter Biden “a step toward accountability.” But Comer said he will not be satisfied until the Department of Justice investigates the Biden family’s business dealings even though his 18 months of work has yet to uncover any evidence that President Joe Biden was involved or financially benefited from it. 

“Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal was smoked out after scrutiny by a federal judge,” Comer said in a release after the verdict.

Hunter Biden’s original plea deal fell apart in a dramatic exchange with a federal judge last year. District Judge Maryellen Noreika said she had “concerns” about the parties seemingly linking a tax plea agreement to resolving a felony gun charge. The judge, a Trump appointee unanimously confirmed by the Senate, declared that she wasn’t ready to accept the plea deal, and the president’s son then entered a not guilty plea.

Hunter Biden has also pleaded not guilty to tax evasion, filing false tax returns and failing to file his taxes on time, and his second case is scheduled to occur in September.

House Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith credited two whistleblowers with the Internal Revenue Service who came forward last summer for bringing Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict to fruition.

IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, who both worked on Biden’s criminal case, claimed that the Department of Justice mishandled the case against the president’s son and deviated from standard investigative procedure. Republicans have used the testimony from the whistleblowers to make broader accusations about the politicization of the DOJ. 

But Attorney General Merrick Garland and Weiss have repeatedly insisted that Weiss always had the powers he needed to bring charges, even as a US attorney, and that Weiss’ appointment of special counsel was not tied to the accusations from the IRS whistleblowers. 

Speaker Johnson argues Hunter Biden's conviction doesn't undercut GOP claims of two-tiered system of justice

House Speaker Mike Johnson told CNN that Hunter Biden’s conviction on federal gun charges doesn’t undercut the GOP narrative that there’s a two-tiered justice system designed to hurt Republicans.

Johnson also said he believed the guilty verdict was “appropriate.”

The speaker took a victory lap later on Tuesday, arguing that the House GOP’s investigative efforts helped pave the way for the verdict.

Last year, a House Republican-led committee heard testimony from a pair of IRS whistleblowers — who both worked on Biden’s criminal case — claiming that the Department of Justice mishandled the case against the president’s son and gave him preferential treatment, which the DOJ has strongly denied. After the plea deal between Hunter Biden and the DOJ fell apart, a special counsel was named to oversee the case, and it ultimately went to trial.

“Because whistleblowers spoke out and House Republicans sounded the alarm, Hunter was brought to court. Today he was found guilty of all charges,” Johnson wrote on social media.

Read Johnson’s full post:

This post has been updated with Johnson’s latest social media post.

President Biden will head to Delaware after speaking at gun safety event

President Joe Biden will depart for Wilmington, Delaware, just hours after a jury there convicted his son on firearms-related charges Tuesday.

Biden was not originally scheduled to travel to Wilmington on Tuesday, but the White House updated his schedule after Hunter Biden’s conviction.

The president will head to Delaware after delivering remarks at an Everytown for Gun Safety event scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET in Washington, DC.

Special counsel thanks US attorney general for independence to pursue investigations

Department of Justice Special Counsel David Weiss, center, accompanied by by federal prosecutors Derek Hines, right, and Leo Wise speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, June 11, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Special counsel David Weiss thanked Attorney General Merrick Garland as well as the prosecution team that worked on the gun case against Hunter Biden.