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Gun conviction latest blow in Hunter Biden’s troubled life

Hunter Biden gun trial hears from his ex as first lady looks on
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A guilty verdict on federal gun charges is the latest blow in a litany of legal and personal setbacks for Hunter Biden, whose status as son of the US president masks a tragic and troubled life.

The conviction of Hunter Biden for purchasing a firearm in 2018 while addicted to crack cocaine reinforces his reputation as a magnet for lurid activities now haunting President Joe Biden as he seeks re-election.

Hunter Biden, 54, has written movingly of his attempts to put his past behind him, but the gun charges and a separate, highly politicized push by Republicans to impeach his father make that nearly impossible.

If some see Hunter as the family black sheep, his father has stuck by him, publicly praising his battle against addiction.

The president did not attend his son’s trial in Wilmington, Delaware, but he issued statements in support.

“I am the President, but I am also a Dad,” he said Tuesday minutes after the jury delivered its guilty verdict. “So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery.”

First Lady “Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support.”

– Tragedy and addiction –

Hunter’s early childhood was shadowed by terrible tragedy — the 1972 car crash that killed his mother and infant sister.

Hunter, who was three at the time, and his older brother Beau were pulled from the wreckage alive but injured.

Growing up, Hunter would find easy access to the American elite.

A graduate of Yale Law School, he shuffled between jobs in government, banking and lobbying before landing in a family-controlled hedge fund and starting his own international business consultancy in the late 2000s.

But his life was marred by alcoholism, drug addiction, and stints in rehabilitation. In 2015, Beau’s death at age 46 pushed him over the edge.

Beau had built a sterling reputation in the military and was a rising political force in his home state of Delaware when he was felled by brain cancer.

Joe Biden frequently opens up about the devastating impact of losing a son whom many saw as a natural heir to the family’s political capital.

The blow to Hunter was, if anything, more severe.

He wrote in his memoir that after Beau’s death his drug use spiraled, reaching a nadir in 2017 near the end of his father’s second term as vice president to Barack Obama.

Hunter’s marriage fell apart and he lost custody of his three daughters.

He became romantically entangled with Beau’s widow, fathered a daughter with a woman in Arkansas who later sued for child support, and then saw his files, emails and tawdry personal photos from his laptop computer made public by his father’s political enemies.

He came under investigation by the Justice Department over millions of dollars he earned from overseas investments.

– ‘Never judged me’ –

But if Joe Biden continues to talk of Beau as the favored son, he has also frequently come to Hunter’s defense. He responded to taunts from Donald Trump during their 2020 election battle, saying: “My son, like a lot people… had a drug problem.

“He’s overtaken it, he’s fixed it, he’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son,” he said.

In his 2020 memoir “Beautiful Things,” Hunter Biden recounted his days chugging vodka from the bottle, wandering around seedy neighborhoods at night searching for crack, and multiple failed attempts to get clean.

He said that in 2019 he was able to pick himself up after an intervention by his father and his second wife Melissa.

The one thing that helped him, he wrote, was his father’s unconditional love.

“He never abandoned me, never shunned me, never judged me, no matter how bad things got,” Hunter wrote.

Today Hunter says he is clean. He has a son with Melissa, whom he named Beau.

He has taken up painting, though that brought fresh controversy when unnamed collectors bought his works for prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

About the author

AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.







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