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Court Testimony: Hunter Biden Reportedly Used Crack “Every 20 Minutes or So”

Hunter Biden’s ex-girlfriend testified before a jury that he was abusing crack cocaine “every 20 minutes or so” when they first met. The son of the US president is on trial in Wilmington, Delaware, facing charges related to his possession of a firearm while allegedly using narcotics.

Zoe Kestan, who met Biden, 54, during a “private dance” at a “gentleman’s club” in New York, informed the court that he frequently withdrew cash for drug deals.

This marks the first criminal trial for the son of a sitting US president.

He stands accused of allegedly lying on federal paperwork when he stated he was not a drug user to purchase a revolver and ammunition from a Wilmington gun shop on 12 October 2018, as well as illegally possessing the gun for 11 days. If found guilty of all three federal counts in the case, Mr. Biden could face up to 25 years in prison. However, he has pleaded not guilty, with his legal team asserting that he was in recovery at the time he bought the weapon.

The prosecution is expected to conclude its case on Thursday after calling another six witnesses, including Hallie Biden, Mr. Biden’s former partner and the widow of his brother, as well as Delaware state police officers, a DEA agent, and a forensic expert. Among the prosecution witnesses was Gordon Cleveland, the former employee of the gun store who sold Mr. Biden the gun in 2018. During his testimony on Wednesday, Mr. Cleveland stated that he instructed Mr. Biden, along with all other customers, to “truthfully” complete the form.

The prosecution seeks to establish that Hunter Biden, who authored a memoir about his drug addiction, was abusing crack cocaine at the time he purchased the weapon. In his opening remarks earlier this week, Mr. Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, informed jurors that the revolver was an impulsive purchase influenced by the tactics of a persistent salesman, Mr. Cleveland. Mr. Cleveland, in his testimony, acknowledged his reputation as a skilled salesman known for selling high-quality guns but denied attempting to “upsell” Mr. Biden. He claimed that Mr. Biden had initiated the discussion about purchasing a revolver during his visit to the store.

In court on Wednesday, the defendant’s stepmother, US First Lady Jill Biden, was present, seated behind Hunter Biden along with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, and a Secret Service agent. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden was in France for events commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. FBI agent Erika Jensen, Ms. Kestan, and the defendant’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, also provided testimony on the third day of the trial.

Reuters Zoe Kestan on sidewalk next to traffic in dark pantsuit, bright scarf
Zoe Kestan departs court after testifying

During her testimony, Ms. Kestan provided detailed accounts of Hunter Biden’s drug use throughout their relationship. She described their initial encounter at a gentleman’s club in December 2017, where she alleged that Mr. Biden began smoking crack “within 10 minutes” of meeting. Ms. Kestan recounted witnessing similar patterns of drug use during their relationship, occurring in luxury hotel rooms across New York, New Jersey, and California. She asserted that Mr. Biden had a habit of wanting to smoke crack immediately upon waking up.

Additionally, Ms. Kestan testified that she observed Mr. Biden smoking crack over several days in September 2018, during their stay in Malibu, California, just a month before he purchased the gun in question. Prosecutors presented images allegedly taken by Ms. Kestan, depicting crack pipes in the rooms she shared with Mr. Biden. One photo purportedly showed the defendant holding a crack pipe while in a bath.

In her testimony, Ms. Buhle, who was married to Mr. Biden from 1993 to 2017 and shares three daughters with him, revealed that she first became aware of his drug use in 2015 after discovering a crack pipe in an ashtray. She noted that his behavior would change when using drugs, becoming “short-tempered.” Towards the end of their marriage, Ms. Buhle testified that Mr. Biden resisted seeking rehabilitation.

When questioned by Mr. Lowell, she denied witnessing the defendant using drugs in 2018. Earlier in the proceedings, FBI agent Ms. Jensen testified about text messages retrieved from a laptop left by Mr. Biden at a Delaware repair shop, which were never reclaimed.

Among the messages was one where, the day after purchasing the gun, Mr. Biden texted his then-girlfriend, Hallie Biden, widow of his late brother Beau Biden, stating that he was “sleeping on a car smoking crack on 4th street and Rodney.” In another message, he added, “There’s my truth.” Mr. Biden’s legal team interpreted these texts as attempts to avoid seeing Hallie Biden.

On Thursday, the jury is expected to hear testimony about how Hallie Biden also struggled with crack cocaine addiction during her brief relationship with Mr. Biden after her husband’s death in 2015. She reportedly took the gun from Hunter Biden and disposed of it in a grocery store bin 11 days after he purchased it, out of concern for his potential actions with the weapon.

The laptop containing these messages became a focal point during the 2020 election campaign, as it contained explicit images of Hunter Biden and messages related to his business dealings, which were subsequently leaked. While Joe Biden initially dismissed the laptop’s contents as Russian disinformation, it has since been authenticated by the FBI.

The Bidens have consistently denied any wrongdoing in their overseas business ventures, which have come under scrutiny in an ongoing Republican-led impeachment investigation. Hunter Biden also faces separate charges in California for allegedly failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes.

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