How the Hunter Biden jury went from deadlocked to ‘guilty’

How the Hunter Biden jury went from deadlocked to ‘guilty’

The jury in the Hunter Biden gun case was deadlocked in an initial vote on Monday night over whether to convict the US president’s son, one of the jurors told CNN in an interview, adding that “no politics came into play” during deliberations before they arrived at a guilty verdict.

The male juror, Number 10, also said that it was a mistake to put Hunter’s daughter Naomi on the stand and that jurors felt bad that she was called to testify.

Hunter Biden was found guilty on Tuesday (early Wednesday AEST) of all three federal felony gun charges he faced, with the jury concluding that he violated laws meant to prevent drug addicts from owning firearms.

READ MORE: US President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, convicted of all three felonies in federal gun trial

When the jury returned earlier that morning, there was only one remaining holdout, the juror who spoke with CNN said. Over the next few hours, he said, the jury discussed the elements of each crime and the last holdout agreed that they should return a guilty verdict.

While the male juror did not say whether he was a supporter of President Joe Biden, he said he felt sympathy for the family’s struggle with Hunter Biden’s addiction.

The president’s son “was just like anybody else,” Number 10 told CNN. But, the juror said, he based his decision to convict on the fact that Biden did not disclose that he was a drug addict when he bought a gun.

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“We all knew he was a drug addict,” he said. “In his mind, how could he not know he was an addict?”

Juror Number 10 said that the case boiled down to whether Biden was addicted to crack when he purchased the gun. “All 12 jurors did agree that, yes, he knowingly bought a gun when he was an addict, or he was addicted to drugs,” he said.

The juror, though, also said he doesn’t believe Biden belongs in jail and pointed to the fact that he did not want the gun back after Hallie Biden (the widow of Beau Biden who later dated his brother) took it out of his truck and threw it in the garbage near a grocery store.

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“When he said he did not want that gun back, and that gun sat in evidence for almost five years, I think that’s what may have been what led to his downfall. If he had taken possession of that gun, I don’t know if we would have even had a trial,” the juror said.

Another juror told CNN that she believed Biden “needs rehab more than imprisonment or a fine.”

Juror Number 10 said it didn’t make a difference for him that Biden did not take the stand in his own defence and that he agrees Biden was “better off not testifying.”

Ultimately, juror Number 10 said, the unilateral guilty verdicts “came down to the rules.”

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Other jurors who spoke to CNN after they reached the guilty verdict said that they believed they had no choice but to find Biden guilty but said that they question whether the criminal case ever should have been brought against the president’s son.

The case “seemed like a waste of taxpayer dollars,” one female juror told CNN, though juror Number 10 disagreed.

Another male juror said that the process was “a little bit frustrating because it felt like we couldn’t get the full story.”

All three jurors said that defence lawyer Abbe Lowell made them question whether Biden intentionally lied on an ATF form, but that ultimately his defense strategy was unconvincing.

‘Politics played no part whatsoever’

Jurors who spoke with CNN said politics never played a part in their decision-making process about whether to convict the president’s son.

The guilty verdict “was not politically motivated,” juror Number 10 told CNN. “Politics played no part whatsoever.”

A second juror said she was concerned that the jury would be “at each other’s throats because (Biden’s) father is the president and because of the political climate,” but that once deliberations began, she “didn’t feel pressure.”

A third juror added: “I just didn’t feel the pressure.”

The president on Tuesday again reiterated that he would accept the jury’s verdict in a statement following the guilty verdict, but he also expressed support for his son.

“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. 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,” Biden said.

Juror Number 10 said that the president “never really even came in to play for me because his name was only brought up in one story in the trial. And that’s when it … kind of sunk in a little bit. Oh, wow: This is the sitting president’s son who’s on trial. And so that was, yeah, that was kind of hard … but you kind of put that out of your mind. And after that, after it was brought up again, I did put it out in my mind.”

While the president was not in the courtroom, first lady Jill Biden was a fixture at the trial, showing support for her son. Each juror CNN spoke with acknowledged the weight of having her in the courtroom.

“When I looked at Mrs Biden, I really felt bad for the family,” juror Number 10 said. He added that, while he didn’t say how he planned to vote in the 2024 election, “you can’t help but take some of these things into factor.”

‘Heart-wrenching’ testimony from family

Jurors said they recognised the emotional testimony in the case that saw Biden’s family on the stand discussing some of the most intimate details of his struggle with drugs and alcohol.

“I didn’t know that Hunter’s addiction was as bad as it was,” juror Number 10 said, adding that testimony from Biden’s daughter was “heart-wrenching.”

Naomi Biden testified about visiting her father in the summer of 2018 while he was in rehab in Los Angeles after not seeing him for some time. She came under intense cross-examination by prosecutors and was seen wiping away tears as she left the courtroom.

“I felt bad that they put Naomi on trial (as a) witness,” juror Number 10 told CNN.

“I think that was probably a strategy that should not have been done. No daughter should ever have to testify against her dad.”

The second juror said that she felt “so sad” for Naomi Biden and found her testimony difficult to listen to.

Juror Number 10 said the panel did not focus heavily on Hunter Biden’s “lifestyle,” but rather, the evidence presented at the trial.

“It was very sad. And Hallie testified, I mean, that was for me, that was a very sad time because I did not know that Hallie also got addicted to crack. So I really felt sorry for that,” he added.

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