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What to remember from the first day of Hunter Biden’s gun trial

Biden family members sitting in a Wilmington, Delaware, courtroom for the start of Hunter Biden’s gun trial Monday share many of the difficulties as jurors who will weigh the fate of the president’s son. Hunter Biden is himself a former drug addict, accused of illegal firearm possession and making false statements. He is divorced and remarried. He has experienced death, such as when his brother died of a brain tumor in 2015.

Hunter Biden is also the president’s son, a distinction impossible to ignore as, time and again, jurors have named members of the Biden family during jury selection or coyly admitted that, yes, they had already donated to a political campaign – and yes, it was to the “Bidens”.

Peering over his peach-colored glasses, Biden straightened as dozens of potential jurors filed into U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika’s court during a sometimes grueling selection process. It was past noon when Hunter’s lead attorney, Father Lowell, gently asked, “For the sake of timing, we think: I forgot whether there was supposed to be a lunch break today or not?”

Behind him were not only the lawyers, reporters and cartoonists who typically fill the courtroom in high-profile cases, but also first lady Jill Biden, who hugged her son, her half-sister and even her son-in-law .

It’s a gripping scene in a historic case in which the president’s son faces up to 25 years in prison. The first lady called the accusations “cruel” in an interview with MSNBC this year. She sat directly behind her son, closely observing the proceedings and offering support to him and other members of his family.

Sometimes she shook her head, as when a former police officer, a potential juror, described the follow-up of the case in the news. The first lady also sometimes put an arm around Melissa Cohen Biden, Hunter’s wife.

“We will be there tomorrow,” Cohen Biden told the defense party quietly at the end of the day.

Here’s what you missed on the first day of Hunter Biden’s trial:

The jury took the oath

As voir dire began Monday morning, dozens of potential jurors were in the Noreika courtroom benches. At the close, a jury of 12 people – six men and six women – and four alternates were sworn in. The group included an Obama voter, gun owners and people who have seen addiction up close.

Jurors — who said they get their information from a variety of sources, including broadcast, cable and even YouTube — are barred from researching and speaking about the case. That includes a charged juror who said she learned the trial would take place early Monday while on her way to the courthouse.

Noreika asked the panel to ignore targeted ads, or pop-up ads, when using the Internet, warning that “even foreign governments” could seek to “influence” or “persuade” them during the trial.

During the selection process, Lowell analyzed jurors’ personal opinions on guns, including whether they thought it was appropriate for drug addicts or alcoholics to ever have access to them. Lowell also asked for clarification on what exactly was understood by people who expressed some knowledge of the case — and where they were getting their news from.

If they or their family members had purchased guns, they were asked if they had undergone a background check. Biden faces three criminal charges related to his purchase of a gun in which he failed to disclose his drug addiction.

One potential juror became irritated after she described learning “there was supposed to be a deal” in the case last year, “and then the deal wasn’t accepted by the judge.” Lowell suggested that she was hesitant about whether she could be impartial and decided to hit her for cause.

“When you say you think you can be fair and impartial, it gives people heartburn,” Lowell said. “I know she corrected herself afterward, and then she said, ‘I guess.'”

Another potential juror who is sworn to be impartial said he believes U.S. government agencies such as the Justice Department and the FBI have prosecuted politicized cases, including those involving former President Donald Trump, and cited the so-called Steele dossier and Trump’s recent silent conviction. silver case in New York. This person was not chosen.

The Biden family introduces themselves

Before Biden took to court Monday, a powerful quorum of allies and family members stood ready to surround and support him. The first to arrive were Hunter’s half-sister Ashley and Kevin Morris, an entertainment lawyer who is helping pay Biden’s legal fees.

Peter Neal, Biden’s son-in-law, exchanged notes on a legal pad with Morris. Morris could be seen writing on sticky notes he gave to the defense. There was also Jack Owens, Joe Biden’s brother-in-law, duly recognized by a potential juror who ran a bar that Owens, the brother of Joe Biden’s sister Valerie, frequented in nearby Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Joe Biden’s longtime friend Richard “Mouse” Smith, president of the Delaware NAACP chapter, was also among the group’s ranks. Smith, who has known the president since they met in a Delaware swimming pool when they were teenagers, embraced Hunter Biden during a break in the morning’s proceedings.

A close source said they expected a “constant stream” of friends and family members to be present throughout the trial.

Also present was David Weiss, the Trump-appointed special counsel, who arrived in the courtroom after the first break and was there until the end. He looked around the room, looking either at the ceiling, at the jury, or at the media.

It was impossible not to notice the contrast with Trump, whose high-profile aides and defenders crowded the courtroom behind him during his secret trial in New York last month. Days passed before members of Trump’s family joined him in the courtroom of Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over the case. Melania Trump, his wife, never appeared.

Delaware Degrees of Separation

A former police officer described himself as an acquaintance of Jill Biden from when he worked at the same school. “And I met her husband,” added the man, who was not imprisoned.

When asked what he knew about the case, another man said Delaware is not a place where local news goes unnoticed. “I live in Delaware; you can’t swing a cat without hearing something,” he said.

Others claimed to be more closely associated with the Biden family, not just visiting colleagues but also family friends, the kind to whom one might say “hello” socially, one woman said. She added that her husband was “really good friends with Beau,” Hunter Biden’s late brother, as she choked up.

Another juror, who described playing a squash tournament at Wilmington Country Club with Beau Biden in 2010, said he coached Beau’s son “multiple times” in baseball, basketball and flag- soccer. His wife is also “very friendly” with Hallie Biden, Beau Biden’s widow, because of their ties to a private college prep school in the area, he said.

“The connection to Tatnall School is strong,” the man said. He admitted that this link would make it difficult to remain impartial.

Sometimes that familiarity was more pedestrian, as when a potential juror who was struck spoke to Lowell about his knowledge of the location of the grocery store where Hunter Biden’s gun was found.

But there was no escaping the first family’s presence, influence and long history hovering over the courtroom.

At one point, Noreika repeated a statement made by a woman who said she somehow knew the Bidens and felt affection for Hunter: “You don’t think it’s easy being the son of the president?

News Source : www.nbcnews.com
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