Hallie Biden ‘panicked’ on finding his gun

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Hunter Biden’s ex-girlfriend has testified that she “panicked” when she searched his car and found a gun that is at the centre of his firearms trial.

Hallie Biden, who is also the widow of the defendant’s late brother, said she discovered the revolver in the console of Hunter Biden’s vehicle along with ammunition, crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

Ms Biden, 50, also told the court she was “embarrassed and ashamed” to have started smoking crack cocaine herself after Hunter Biden, 54, introduced her to the drug.

It is the first trial for the son of a sitting US president. He could face up to 25 years in prison if found guilty.

Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to three charges related to his possession of a firearm while allegedly using narcotics.

He is accused of knowingly lying on federal paperwork when he purchased the revolver and ammunition from a gun shop in Wilmington, Delaware, on 12 October 2018.

His defence team says he was in recovery at the time, so he was truthful when he indicated on the paperwork that he was not a drug user.

On Thursday, the court heard from a central figure in the case – Hallie Biden – who became romantically involved with the defendant shortly after the 2015 death of his brother and her husband, Beau Biden.

She described their relationship as “off-on” and “volatile”.

Ms Biden told the trial in Wilmington that she found Mr Biden’s gun on 23 October 2018, while she was clearing his truck of drugs and alcohol – something she said she frequently did.

“I panicked and I wanted to get rid of them,” she said.

“I didn’t want him to hurt himself, and I didn’t want my kids to find it and hurt themselves,” the mother-of-two added.

She said she wrapped the .38 calibre Colt revolver in a leather pouch, stuffed it in a shopping bag and threw it in a public bin near a grocery store.

“I realise it was a stupid idea now, but I was panicking,” Ms Biden said.

She then told Mr Biden that she had got rid of the gun, and he responded by telling her to go back to the store to retrieve it, but she could not find it.

It has previously emerged that the weapon had been discovered by a man who often rummaged through the grocery store’s refuse to gather recyclable items.

Ms Biden also told the court that she did not see Mr Biden use crack cocaine in the days leading up to him buying the gun and her disposing of it.

As she testified, Hunter Biden appeared to look intently in her direction.

He also looked back at his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, who has attended each day of the trial so far.

Hailie Biden also told the court that it was only after their relationship began when she learned of Hunter Biden’s drug use.

She found crack cocaine at her house – where he would frequently stay – and later saw him use the drug.

She said his drug use left him “agitated or high-strung, but at other times, functioning as well”.

Ms Biden added that Hunter Biden did not attempt to hide his drug use from his family.

She also testified that she had fallen into using crack cocaine herself after he introduced her to the drug.

“It was a terrible experience that I went through, and I’m embarrassed and ashamed, and I regret that period of my life,” she said.

Ms Biden testified that she stopped using the drug in August 2018, but that Hunter Biden continued to smoke crack.

The prosecutor asked on Thursday about a text message Hunter Biden sent to Ms Biden the day after he bought the gun, saying he was waiting for a dealer named Mookie.

She told the court that meant “he was buying crack cocaine”.

Two days after the gun purchase, he texted Ms Biden that he was “sleeping on a car smoking crack”.

Ms Biden said that these messages were part of a series of texts in which she pleaded with him to get sober.

The defendant’s lawyers explained the texts by suggesting their client had been lying about drug use to avoid seeing Hallie Biden.

As his son appears in court, President Joe Biden has continued his public duties. On Thursday, he delivered a speech in France to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

In an interview with ABC News on the same day, Mr Biden said he would accept the outcome of his son’s trial and would not pardon him.

Hunter Biden also faces a trial in California in September on charges of failing to pay $1.4m in taxes.

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