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Hunter Biden’s attorneys spar with prosecutors over definition of ‘addict’

<i>Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/File via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Hunter Biden departs a federal court hearing in Wilmington
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/File via CNN Newsource
Hunter Biden departs a federal court hearing in Wilmington

By Holmes Lybrand and Marshall Cohen, CNN

(CNN) — Attorneys for Hunter Biden in a filing Thursday evening outlined some of the arguments they may bring in the upcoming gun trial in Delaware, including his state of mind when he purchased a firearm in 2018.

Prosecutors have said they will present evidence – including text messages, pictures and excerpts from Biden’s autobiography – to show that he was using illegal drugs around the time they say he purchased the firearm.

The president’s son faces three charges, including making false statements on a federal form and possessing a firearm while using illegal drugs. The trial is currently set for June 3.

The filing from Biden’s attorneys Thursday highlights several issues they see with instructions for the jury proposed by prosecutors.

One issue defense attorneys raised in the filing is whether Biden believed he was a drug user or addict at the time of purchasing and possessing the firearm.

“The terms ‘user’ or ‘addict’ are not defined on the form and were not explained to him,” the defense attorneys wrote. “Someone, like Mr. Biden who had just completed an 11-day rehabilitation program and lived with a sober companion after that, could surely believe he was not a present tense user or addict.”

The filing also highlights several arguments surrounding the Second Amendment.

Biden’s attorneys say that a jury should be instructed that the statute he has been charged with “is violated only when a person is simultaneously armed and actively intoxicated, and using the weapon in some way that terrifies or endangers others.”

“As there is no evidence that Mr. Biden never loaded or fired the weapon, displayed it publicly, or threatened anyone with it, and was not in actual possession of the firearm throughout the entire eleven days from the time of purchase to disposal, the Special Counsel cannot meet that burden,” the defense attorneys wrote.

His attorneys added that the jury instructions proposed by prosecutors “violate the Second Amendment” and “unlawfully expand the scope” of the gun-control law being used against him in the case.

They added: “A gun owner who leaves their guns behind when they head to the bar for a drink or locks their gun in a lockbox or safe while using marijuana (or taking a legally prescribed Oxycontin) is being responsible and should not be treated like a felon. That is not just good policy, it is a constitutional right under the Second Amendment.”

Biden’s attorneys previously filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him, arguing that the primary statute under which he’s charged violates his rights under the Second Amendment. The motion was rejected by the judge presiding over the case.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will meet Friday with the federal judge overseeing over the case, Maryellen Noreika, for the final conference before trial begins.

And hours before the hearing, Biden’s lawyers doubled down on their push to keep his tax problems out of his upcoming gun trial.

They reiterated a previous request that Noreika block prosecutors from telling the jury about the lurid and “extravagant” lifestyle that Hunter Biden lived while he was still struggling with alcohol and crack addiction.

“Any reference to money allegedly spent on, for example, adult entertainment, online chat rooms, or escort services is not relevant to the charges,” they wrote.

His spending is a key part of the tax indictment he faces in California, which his team claimed should not be mentioned at the gun trial, because it will prejudice the jury.

“At this stage, the charges against Mr. Biden in California are just that— charges. Thus, they ought not be mentioned in the Delaware case,” Biden’s lawyers in a Friday morning filing.

Prosecutors have said they don’t plan to bring up Biden’s “extravagant” spending beyond his drug purchases.

It’s unclear when the judge will issue decisions on these key pretrial questions. Hunter Biden is expected to personally appear at Friday’s hearing in Wilmington.

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