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Politics

Hunter Biden is Expected in Court for a Final Hearing Before His June 3 Gun Trial

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Hunter Biden is due in court on Friday for the final hearing before he’s expected to stand trial on federal firearms charges in Delaware as his father’s reelection campaign unfolds.

President Joe Biden’s son is charged with lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun that he kept for about 11 days in Delaware. He has acknowledged an addiction to crack cocaine during that period, but his lawyers have said he didn’t break the law and the case is politically motivated.

The two sides have been arguing in court documents about evidence in the case, including contents from a laptop that he allegedly dropped off at a Delaware repair shop. Defense attorneys question the authenticity of the laptop’s data in court documents, but prosecutors say there’s no evidence the data has been compromised and that a drawn-out fight over it at trial would be a waste of time. The laptop has been the source of controversy for years after Republicans accessed and disseminated personal data from it.

Prosecutors also plan to show jurors portions of his 2021 memoir “Beautiful Things,” in which he detailed his struggle with alcoholism and drug abuse following the 2015 death of his older brother, Beau, who succumbed to brain cancer at age 46.

Defense attorneys argue prosecutors are cherry-picking evidence from the book and want to also include more information they chose.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika will preside over what’s expected to be the last hearing before trial expected to begin with jury selection on June 3.

Hunter Biden is also facing federal tax charges in Los Angeles and is set for trial in that case in September. He’s accused of failing to pay at least $1.4 million in taxes over four years while living an “extravagant lifestyle” during a period in which he has acknowledged struggling with addiction. The back taxes have since been paid.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers have pushed unsuccessfully in both cases to have them dismissed. They have argued, among other things, that prosecutors bowed to political pressure to indict him after a plea agreement hit the skids in court and was publicly pilloried by Republicans, including Trump, as a “sweetheart deal.”

Trump, who is running to unseat the Democratic president, faces his own legal problems. He is charged in four criminal cases, including a hush money trial underway in New York.

The long-running federal investigation into the president’s son had looked ready to wrap up with a plea deal last year, but the agreement imploded after a judge raised questions about it. Hunter Biden was subsequently indicted.

Under the deal, he would have gotten two years of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges. He also would have avoided prosecution on the gun charge if he stayed out of trouble.

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By CLAUDIA LAUER and LINDSAY WHITEHURST Associated Press

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