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Hunter Biden trial enters 3rd day with cross-examination of FBI agent

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Hunter Biden trial enters 3rd day with cross-examination of FBI agent

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WILMINGTON, Del. — First son Hunter Biden’s criminal trial kicked off in earnest on Tuesday, beginning with opening statements before hearing from the case’s first witness, a special agent with the FBI. 

Jurors heard testimony and opening statements for more than seven hours on Tuesday, including Biden’s defense team setting the stage that his purchase of a Cobra Colt .38 revolver in October 2018 was a hurried purchase promoted by employees at the gun shop – StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply in Wilmington – who wanted to make a sale. Lowell continued in his opening remarks that the firearm Biden purchased was a “small gun” that was never used in the 11 days Biden had it in his possession. 

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“No one is above the law,” argued prosecutors, who told the jury that during the trial they will present evidence showing Biden was a crack cocaine addict who lied on a federal gun form in order to purchase the firearm. 

Biden’s 2021 memoir “Beautiful Things” took center stage Tuesday as prosecutors played excerpts from Biden’s audiobook, which is narrated by Biden, in the courtroom. The excerpts detailed anecdotes such as how he linked up with a female drug dealer he nicknamed “Bicycles” who sold him crack cocaine on the streets of Washington, D.C., how he could serve as a “crack daddy” to dealers due to his spiraling addiction, and how he took cocaine from a stranger in a hotel bathroom in Monte Carlo. 

HUNTER BIDEN’S WIFE LASHES OUT AT FORMER TRUMP AIDE DURING COURT APPEARANCE: ‘PIECE OF S—‘

Hunter Biden, accompanied by his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, leaves federal court on June 4, 2024, in Wilmington, Delaware. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Though the excerpts from the book contained salacious details, jurors for the case appeared to lose interest at points while the prosecution team played roughly an hour of audiobook excerpts. Jurors were seen yawning, placing their heads in their hands, and even two jurors throughout the day appeared to close their eyes briefly as testimony continued. 

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HUNTER BIDEN’S DRUG USE: WHAT THE PROSECUTION NEEDS TO PROVE AND WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW

The court did erupt into chuckles late in the day when presiding Judge Maryellen Noreika told the court that the chair at the witness stand is fixed in its place due to previous witnesses in unrelated cases rocking back and forth before falling off the stand. The judge, as well as the jury and members of the media, laughed at the anecdote before Noreika added that such an instance is “not so funny to witness.” 

Hunter Biden departs the federal court with his wife Melissa Cohen Biden

Hunter Biden, son of President Biden, leaves federal court with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, on the second day of his trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, Delaware, on June 4, 2024. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Biden was joined by first lady Jill Biden, his sister, Ashley Biden, and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden. During breaks, Biden was often drawn to his wife like a magnet, holding her hand and briefly hugging her and giving her a kiss.

Jill Biden took her front-row seat in the court for the second time since Monday, flanked by daughter Ashley and daughter-in-law Melissa on either side. Ashley Biden was seen becoming emotional during the trial, with Jill Biden placing her arm around her daughter.

HUNTER BIDEN TRIAL: 9 KEY FIGURES WHO MAY TESTIFY

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The first lady directed her line of vision almost exclusively toward the judge and defense team, unless her family members or allies approached her for a quick chat. At least twice, Jill Biden took a small stack of papers from her cream-colored clutch handbag, which were delicately folded in half, to read or jot down a quick note.

First lady Jill Biden arrives at federal court

First lady Jill Biden arrives at federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, on June 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The first lady left the courtroom after breaking for lunch. She was in the courtroom as excerpts of the audiobook detailed topics such as Biden’s ability to buy crack cocaine in any city he visited.

Lowell also briefly sat with the first lady during a short break in the morning, smiling as the two chatted. Jill Biden seldom stole glances at media members and others sitting behind her in the court.

US V HUNTER BIDEN: OPENING STATEMENTS TO BEGIN IN FIRST SON’S FEDERAL GUN TRIAL AFTER JURY SEATED

Reports surfaced Tuesday that Melissa Cohen lashed out at a former Trump White House aide, Garrett Ziegler, allegedly pointing her finger at him and saying, “You have no right to be here, you Nazi piece of s—.” Fox News Digital did not witness the tense exchange.

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Ziegler later confirmed the encounter, telling NBC News, “It’s sad I’ve been sitting here the whole time and haven’t approached anyone.”

Ziegler leads the nonprofit group Marco Polo and was sued by Biden last year for publishing the contents of his infamous laptop.

Hunter Biden and Melissa Cohen Biden at federal court

Hunter Biden, left, arrives with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, at federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, on June 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Prosecutors in the case allege that in October 2018, Biden visited StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply to purchase the Colt revolver and that he lied about his drug addiction when he filled out a federal form to purchase the gun. Biden’s form was ticked “No” when asked if he is an unlawful user of a firearm or addicted to controlled substances.

He is facing charges of false statement in purchase of a firearm; false statement related to information required to be kept by federal firearms licensed dealer; possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.

HUNTER BIDEN’S CRIMINAL TRIAL ON FEDERAL GUN CHARGES BEGINS WITH JURY SELECTION

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Biden pleaded not guilty in the case. 

The total maximum prison time for the three charges could be up to 25 years. Each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release. 

Ashley Biden arrives at the federal court on the second day of trial of Hunter Biden

Ashley Biden arrives at federal court on the second day of Hunter Biden’s trial on criminal gun charges in Wilmington, Delaware, on June 4, 2024. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

The trial continues Wednesday with cross-examination of FBI Special Agent Erica Jensen, who testified about dozens of text messages, metadata, photos and short videos found on phones and iCloud accounts belonging to Biden. 

The defense team is laying the groundwork that at the time of the gun purchase in 2018, Biden had just flown from California to the East Coast, which they appeared to argue would be incongruent with his documented behavior of active addiction. Biden detailed in his book that when he was in active addiction, he missed flights out of fear he would not be able to smoke crack on the plane.

In opening statements, Lowell set the framework that Biden’s purchase of a handgun was hurried by gun shop employees seeking to make a sale. Along with the revolver, Biden also purchased a box of ammunition, a speed loader and a BB gun, evidence presented Tuesday showed.

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The defense team highlighted to the jury that they are not arguing Biden was a drug addict, with Lowell saying Biden began drinking alcohol as a teenager before graduating to hard drugs as an adult, citing his traumatic childhood, including losing his mother and sister to a car crash in 1972 that also left him seriously injured. Instead, the defense team argued that the issue at hand is whether Biden believed he was in active addiction when he entered the gun shop to make the purchase. 

The prosecution, meanwhile, presented text message evidence and photos and video in an effort to prove to the jury that Biden was an addict before, during and after the purchase, thus working to prove he lied on the federal gun form. 

Prosecutors presented a list of their anticipated witnesses on Tuesday, including: ex-wife Kathleen Buhle; former romantic partner and sister-in-law Hallie Biden; one of Biden’s former romantic partners, Zoe Kestan; gun shop employee Gordon Cleveland; the man who discovered the gun Biden purchased, Edward Banner; and others. 

Buhle, who was married to Biden from 1993 to 2017, could take the stand on Wednesday. The former couple share three daughters. 

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Court begins Wednesday at 9 a.m. and is anticipated to conclude for the day at 4:30 p.m.

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Politics

Who Sat in Trump’s V.I.P. Box at the R.N.C.?

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Who Sat in Trump’s V.I.P. Box at the R.N.C.?

Photo by Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

The most prominent seats at the 2024 Republican National Convention were three rows of white chairs in Donald J. Trump’s V.I.P. box. For each of the convention’s four nights, members of the Trump family and prominent guests streamed in and out, joining the former president as he took in the show.

Here are some of the people spotted in the box each night.

Monday

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Mr. Trump entered the arena triumphantly on the convention’s first night, just two days after he was shot in the ear by a would-be assassin. Flanking him were his newly announced vice presidential nominee, Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio, and Representative Byron Donalds of Florida, one of the evening’s speakers.

Photo by Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Photo by Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

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Members of Mr. Trump’s family, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and House Speaker Mike Johnson, who presided over the roll-call vote formally nominating Mr. Trump, also appeared in the box.

Tuesday

Several Senate candidates and House leaders joined Mr. Trump in the box over the course of Tuesday night. Many of them also spoke from the stage, making the case for delivering control of Congress to Republicans in November.

Photo by Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

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Photo by Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

The night’s final speaker was Lara Trump, co-chair of the Republican National Committee and Mr. Trump’s daughter-in-law. As the first Trump family member to speak from the convention stage, she talked about the attempt on Mr. Trump’s life in personal terms and focused on his roles as a father and grandfather.

Mr. Trump responded with applause, flanked by Mr. Vance and Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House majority leader.

Photo by Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

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Photo by Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

Wednesday

Mr. Trump began his evening at the arena seated next to Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, and to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, one of the finalists to be Mr. Trump’s running mate who was ultimately passed over.

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Other allies with speaking slots also appeared in the section, including Callista Gingrich, the former ambassador to the Holy See, and her husband, Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and 2012 presidential candidate.

Photo by Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Photo by Todd Heisler/The New York Times

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Mr. Vance wrapped up the third night of the convention with a nearly one-hour speech introducing himself and his economic vision to the nation. Mr. Trump watched his running mate while seated next to Mr. Vance’s wife, Usha Vance, a lawyer, and Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, another person who was under consideration to join Mr. Trump on the ticket.

Several Trump family members appeared in the box at that time. Kai Trump, 17, Mr. Trump’s eldest grandchild, also spoke that evening, characterizing him as “just a normal grandpa.”

Photo by Jamie Kelter Davis/The New York Times

Photo by Jamie Kelter Davis/The New York Times

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Thursday

By the time Mr. Trump delivered his address, the box was largely filled with his family members. Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who both served as senior advisors to Mr. Trump during his first term, made their first appearances in the arena Thursday.

His wife, Melania, also made her first appearance of the week, taking a seat in the box just before her husband gave his acceptance speech.

Photo by Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

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Campaign chairs say Biden is both 'more committed than ever' to presidential race and 'asking for input'

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Campaign chairs say Biden is both 'more committed than ever' to presidential race and 'asking for input'

President Biden’s top campaign advisors both weighed in on Friday to comment on widespread speculation surrounding the 2024 presidential race.

The first clarification came from Campaign Chair Jen O’Malley Dillon, who left no room for question during an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“The president’s in this race,” O’Malley Dillon told the hosts. “You’ve heard him say that time and time again, and I think we saw on display last night exactly why, because Donald Trump is not going to offer anything new to the American people. He’s the same person he was in 2020. He’s the same person he was at the debate stage.”

SOURCES CLOSE TO BIDEN ‘FURIOUS’ ABOUT GROWING CALLS TO GET HIM TO EXIT RACE: REPORT

Jen O’Malley Dillon, a top Biden campaign advisor, follows behind President Joe Biden, not pictured, on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

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O’Malley Dillon made clear there was no question that Biden is “more committed than ever to beat Donald Trump” — pushing back yet again on weeks and weeks of leaks and speculation claiming the president was close to pulling out of the race.

“We believe in this campaign we are built for the close election that we are in, and we see the path forward,” O’Malley Dillon continued. “The president is the leader of our campaign and of the country, and he is clearly in our impression, and what we’ve built, and in our engagement with voters, he’s the best person to take on Donald Trump and prosecute that case and present his vision versus what we saw last night.”

This rock-solid statement of commitment was slightly complicated just hours later by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. — co-chair of Biden’s re-elections campaign — who said the president is “weighing what he should weigh.”

TRUMP CAMPAIGN ON BIDEN TURMOIL: ‘DEMOCRATS CAN’T EVEN FIGURE OUT WHO THEIR NOMINEE SHOULD BE’

Biden at NAACP convention

President Joe Biden speaks at the 115th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. (AP Photo/David Becker)

Coons told the press during a panel at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Security Forum that Biden is considering “who is the best candidate to win in November and to carry forward the Democratic Party’s values and priorities in this campaign.”

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He noted that Biden attended the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Washington, D.C., this month after a “very bad debate performance” and that the president “Did a press conference. Did campaign events. Did campaign rallies.”

“And there are folks still saying he is not strong enough or capable enough to be our next president,” he continued. “I disagree.”

Sen. Coons at work

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., a top Biden ally, told the press that the president is “weighing what he should weigh” at the moment but later clarified that he is “with [Biden] 100%.” (Nathan Posner/Anadolu via Getty Images)

According to Coons, “There is a lot of concern and anxiety about this because the stakes are so significant. The consequences of this election are profound.”

Coons walked back this somewhat shaky comment just hours later with a post to social media professing total support for Biden’s re-election effort.

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“I fully support the President. He’s told me he’s in it to win it,” Coons wrote on social media platform X. “I’m with him 100% because I know he can beat Trump just like he did last time.”

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Forget the Oscars. For Republicans, the convention is fashion nirvana

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Forget the Oscars. For Republicans, the convention is fashion nirvana

From cowboy hats to straw bowlers, boots to stilettos — the Republican convention was a showcase of patriotic fashion that was anything but conservative.

Some attendees have been planning their outfits for months, others just raided their MAGA stash. Many, like the Texas delegation with their state-flag shirts, were matching.

But one rule kept them all in line: Red, white and blue or bust.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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Blacke Marnell California delegate from San Diego.

 Susan Reneau wears a collection of Trump buttons
Chaplain Richmond E Stoglin always wears his boots
Angelita Sanchez's of Sweet Home Oregon shoes during
Sharon Anderson of Tennessee wears a donkey hat.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Susan Reneau, left, Chaplain Richmond E. Stoglin, right top, Angelita Sanchez, lower left, and Sharon Anders, lower right.

Reecia Stoglin and her husband Chaplain Rich Stoglin.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

“We’re Texans,” said Reecia Stoglin. “We wear our flag proudly.” Stoglin and her husband. Chaplain Rich Stoglin, were in town from Arlington, Texas. Reecia wore a Texas-flag shirt favored by delegates from the Lone Star state. Stoglin, ordained as an Anglican priest, was a military pastor for nearly 30 years and now is the president of the Frederick Douglass Republicans of Tarrant County. He came in a deep red blazer and Lucchese boots. “You judge a Texan by the quality of his boots,” he said.

From right - Bill Henney, Charlie O'Connor and Gerald Bergen, sit outside the RNC and enjoy cigars.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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From right, Bill Henney, Charlie O’Connor and Gerald Bergen, delegates from Pennsylvania, sit outside the RNC and enjoy cigars. Bergen said he was wearing his straw bowler hat in honor of his grandfather, Gerald Griffin, who wore a similar one to the 1948 convention (at least he thinks he did).

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Wednesday, July 17, 2024 - Arizona delegate
Wisconsin delegate Bob Kordus at the Republican

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Arizona delegate Stacey Goodman, left, and Wisconsin delegate Bob Kordus, right.

Texas delegates wear custom baseball jerseys with Trump 24 on the back at the

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Texas delegates wear custom baseball jerseys with Trump 24.

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