CNN Argues Hunter Biden’s Addiction Is the Best Defense in Gun Case

News & Politics

On Wednesday, The Lead with Jake Tapper tried to argue that Hunter Biden held no liability for lying on his federal Firearm Transaction Record form because of how far “gone” on drugs he allegedly was when he bought his gun in 2018.

Victoria Nourse, former Chief Counsel for the then-Vice President Joe Biden, leaned on two statutes which would lead to the same outcome where Hunter Biden is found not guilty. Nourse alluded to the Fifth Circuit which concluded that disarming a sober citizen based primarily on past drug usage violated the Second Amendment.

In Biden’s memoir, he wrote about his addiction to crack cocaine and alcohol which indicates that he may have lied about his eligibility to own a firearm. Prosecutor Derek Hines told the jury on Tuesday that all of the evidence for this case was primarily in Biden’s book as he observed, “The book will show he was addicted to crack before, during and after his possession of the gun.” Biden’s own family members feared the gun being in his possession.

Tapper noted how members of the jury have stated that they or somebody they know has been affected by addiction. He asked Tim Parlatore, CNN Legal Commentator, if these jurors could be effective when it comes to Biden’s defense. He answered, “I think it is going to be very effective. They may have personal experience with understanding this.”

In regards to the prosecution, Tapper noted that they were trying to so how cognitively incapable he was to possess a firearm. “He didn’t even get his private dance that obviously the prosecution is trying to make that point, like, look at how messed up he was or whatever,” he said.

Parlatore warned that “if they lean too hard into all of his drug use and everything else, they undermine whether he was able to form the requisite criminal intent at the time.”

But criminal intent is not always needed. Drunk drivers often don’t have the ability to think clearly before they get behind the wheel, and they’re still held liable for driving under the influence.

And as CNN has previously reported, the prosecution was accusing Biden of illegally purchasing and possessing a gun while abusing or being addicted to drugs.

Click “Expand” to view the transcripts:

CNN’s The Lead With Jake Tapper
6/5/2024
4:13:01 p.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: Let’s turn to the Hunter Biden case.

[HUNTER BIDEN’S EXES DETAIL HIS PAST DRUG USE]

The defense from Hunter Biden’s lawyer today appear to be, yes, he is an addict and, yes, he did drugs that year in 2018. But they say the prosecution has not proved that Hunter was on drugs when he bought the gun and filled out that paperwork saying that he was not using drugs.

Is that an effective defense, you think?

VICTORIA NOURSE (FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL FOR THEN-VP JOE BIDEN): Well, yeah. I mean, there are two different statutes here, and one of them says that you know this is the one that was struck down in the Fifth Circuit, says, you know, it doesn’t matter what he what he thinks. But the other statute says you have to know that you’re deceiving the gun dealer, and on that, it will matter as to what whether he said at the time “oh, yes, did I know that I was using drugs,” et cetera. I think they say he was misusing alcohol at the time.

And just in the Fifth Circuit case, that individual confessed, I’ve used marijuana 14 times, then that court struck down the law is unconstitutional because you can’t prevent someone from possessing a gun under the Second Amendment, just because they have used alcohol or drugs in the past.

TAPPER: And the — apparently, I’m not in the courtroom, but apparently, there are members of the jury who have been touched by addiction. I guess most of us probably know somebody, either a friend or family member who’s been — who’s been affected by addiction, could that be effective when it comes to his defense, Hunter Biden’s defense?

TIM PARLATORE (CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR): I think it is going to be very effective. And you’re right, you know, today there are very few people to find 12 jurors who haven’t been touched by addiction. It, it — that would not be a jury of your peers. Yeah, that’d be a highly selected.

TAPPER: Right.

PARLATORE: And so, you know, these jurors will understand the type of struggles that Hunter Biden went through. They may have personal experience with understanding this.

And the problem the prosecution has is if they lean too hard into all of his drug use and everything else, they undermine whether he was able to form the requisite criminal intent at the time. So, you know, the prosecution I think needs to in some ways, throttle back because they’re kind of playing into the idea of, you know, they can’t prove it that he was doing it at this time.

So they’re piling it on before the piling–

TAPPER: So, there’s an intent?

PARLATORE: There is.

NOURSE: Yes.

TAPPER: So there is an intent. So that’s interesting. So when the stripper — I forget her name, I apologize — but went the stripper testifies that he was so addicted to crack, he didn’t even get his lap dance. I’m sorry. This is salacious, but this was the testimony today.

He didn’t even get his private dance that obviously the prosecution is trying to make that point, like, look at how messed up he was or whatever but —

NOURSE: That’s not a criminal offense and you can’t criminalize just mere — being an addict. Supreme Court decided that case a long time.

TAPPER: Right, but the point you guys are both making, which is like if he is that gone, although I don’t know the defenses arguing that he doesn’t even know he’s deceiving the government when he lies on that form.

NOURSE: That’s one — that’s one argument. The other argument is that maybe it wasn’t crack. It with some other outcome, alcoholism.

TAPPER: Or it was alcohol.

NOURSE: Which was not covered by the statute.

PARLATORE: It makes it very difficult and then a lot of — a lot of dealers, gun dealers, that is, when they give you the form, they say, hey, fill out your information at the top and check note all these things.

TAPPER: Right.

PARLATORE: Because I’ve seen plenty of people that they just go and check and they don’t even read it. If you’re an addict or somebody who’s using drugs, that increase the likelihood that you did that. So, only goes to further undermine that he intentionally violated the law here.

TAPPER: I’ve heard Republicans say that this is not a good case, even Republicans, that the tax case might be a better case in California. But this one —

NOURSE: Well, even Congressman Gowdy said that if you’re an ordinary person, you would never be charged in a federal court with this. There are 37 million, you know, gun owners.

PARLATORE: Yes.

NOURSE: And they’ve all filed these forums, and are we going to go back and try to investigate all 37 billion of them? No. So I do think that this is not the kind of strong case that you would ever expect to be brought. But, of course, he is the president’s son.

TAPPER: Indeed.

(…)

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