Demons: The Greek Tragedy of America’s Hunter Biden Addiction

While Hunter Biden’s team hasn’t officially decided whether he will take the stand, I’m confident we have seen the last witness testimony in the trial. Friday’s testimony might lead to a split verdict from the jury, with the easiest possession charge solidified, but more reason a jury might balk at the two documents charges.

But, after reading the transcript, I can’t help but view the last day as emblematic of the tragedy of the American addiction to prosecuting Hunter Biden.

Familial Tragedy

Start with Naomi Biden’s testimony.

As I’ve been saying from the start, Hallie Biden was the most important witness for prosecutors, not just because she’s the one who found and discarded of the gun at the center of the case, but because Hunter sent Hallie texts during the time he owned the gun discussing buying crack.

In addition, at trial, Hallie testified that she searched Hunter’s truck because he had come to her house overnight on October 22 and she thought he might have been using. She described finding “remnants” of crack cocaine which, given the fact that the pouch in which Hallie put the gun before disposing of it had trace remnants of cocaine, was particularly damning.

Q. When you searched his car, what did you find? Or when you cleaned out his car, to use your words, when you went through the car?

A. Aside from trash and clothes.

Q. Full of trash and clothes?

A. Yeah. I did find some remnants of crack cocaine and some paraphernalia.

Q. And just to be clear, this is the morning of the 23rd?

A. Yes. Oh, and the gun, obviously.

In real time, there was a discrepancy between Hallie’s explanation to Hunter of why she disposed of the gun — because it was not locked up — and Hunter’s — that it was locked and her disposal of it publicly made it more risky.

On the stand, Hallie described that the lock on the console “had been broken.”

Q. Where did you find the gun in the truck?

A. In the console, the arm console, it was like a box.

Q. Was the box part of the truck like in the —

A. Yes.

Q. Was that box locked?

A. It had a lock, but the lock had been broken. So it was like two inches ajar, you couldn’t like click it.

Hallie’s testimony on the stand — that she searched the truck because Hunter looked like he had been using — conflicted with the police report (which quoted her saying “I think he is screwing around on me”) and some of her contemporaneous texts (which Abbe Lowell struggled to get admitted under the rules of evidence).

I assume these inconsistencies were why Hunter’s team called Naomi Biden to testify. She had used the truck in which the gun was found to help move her boyfriend to New York days earlier, so she knew what it looked like when she gave it back. But rather than helping Hunter’s defense, it will end up matching the classic examples of circumstantial evidence.

You go to sleep and the ground is bare, you wake up and there’s snow on the ground, you have circumstantial evidence it snowed overnight.

Someone comes in from outside carrying a wet umbrella, you have circumstantial evidence it’s raining.

You give your dad his truck and it’s clean and the console is locked, but days later your aunt finds drug paraphernalia in it and the console guarding the gun has the lock broken?

Here’s how that testimony played out.

Q. When you took the truck from Washington D.C. to New York, what was the condition of the inside of the truck?

A. It was in good condition.

Q. By that I mean was there any laundry thrown around, any things that you could determine were left in the truck by your dad?

A. No.

Q. I want to talk about the Raptor truck a minute. Would you put up DX — can you look at Exhibit 12 in your book. So the condition of the truck is where we were at. I asked you what was inside and you said there was nothing particular left behind. When you gave the truck to your dad in New York, did you see strewn about, any, what we’ll call drug paraphernalia?

A. No.

Q. Did you see any white powder residue or anything like that?

A. No.

All the more so given the line of questioning from Leo Wise suggesting that, at a time Hunter was trying to collect the truck in the middle of the night, a drug dealer Zoe Kestan had identified, Franky, had gotten a code to access Hunter Biden’s Wells Fargo account.

Q. Did he tell you he was meeting with someone named Franky?

A. I don’t remember.

Q. Did he tell you that he had Franky come to his hotel room?

A. No. I don’t remember.

Q. I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you?

A. I don’t remember.

Q. Did he tell you he had given someone named Franky an access code to his Wells Fargo account?

A. No.

It’s clear now that prosecutors called Kestan for that testimony — that Hunter gave her and his drug dealers five minute codes to access his bank account — as much as anything else. Prosecutors have some idea who was making the cash withdrawals that, without the five minute codes, were just a proxy for drug purchases.

Not only will Naomi’s testimony provide circumstantial evidence that between the time she gave the truck back and the time Hallie searched it, Hunter had gotten and was using drugs.

But she displayed the tragedy of a family desperate to provide Hunter the love he needed to get and stay clean and instead be met with a wall of deceit. And I’m sure the Biden family is wondering, as I am, whether and if so what might have led Hunter to break the lock on his own console where he had a gun and from which two bullets were taken out of their box (but, according to Hallie, found loose in the console and disposed with the rest).

The trial as a whole has been a week-long display of unconditional love, a sharp contrast with the mob-like attack on rule of law from Trump and his supporters, a contrast that really should have been the focus of the Tiger Beat style trial coverage.

But this moment — the moment Naomi thought she might help her dad but instead may have sealed his prosecution — must have exhibited to the jury the heartbreak such unconditional love faces when supporting someone with addiction, something with which a number of jurors have first hand experience.

Hitjob Backlash

That might have sunk Hunter entirely and it still might.

But other witnesses yesterday completely discredited the testimony of Gordon Cleveland, the guy who sold Hunter the gun, the single witness to the two other counts charged, that Hunter lied on a gun form.

As I laid out here, Cleveland described that selling the gun to Hunter went this way.

  • Hunter Biden picks a gun
  • Cleveland hands Hunter Biden form 4473 to fill out as Hunter hands him his passport
  • Cleveland leaves the front room to copy the passport which, he claims, takes less time to do than it does with a driver’s license because it is not double-sided
  • Cleveland returns to the counter and watches Hunter as he fills out the gun form
  • Only then does Cleveland take the passport — but not the form — in the back to ask whether he can use the passport
  • He and Jason Turner return to the counter
  • Turner reviews the form and sees that Hunter hasn’t signed it
  • Turner then tells Hunter he needs to go get a second form of ID
  • Turner goes back into the back room to run the background check
  • Turner fills out the rest of the form — including dating Cleveland’s signature
  • Cleveland proceeds to sell Hunter a bunch of other things, some of which he claims to have consulted on, some of which — a utility tool and a pellet gun — he claims he did not

His former colleague, Jason Turner (whom the owner of the shop blamed for altering the document after the fact, but jurors don’t know that), offered an entirely different timeline. He described:

  • Cleveland puts form (which Hunter has not signed) and passport (and, Turner later claims, the gun) on stack of background checks Turner is doing
  • Before doing background check, he reviews the paperwork and sees Hunter has not signed it
  • Turner brings the form and passport to Cleveland and — without ever speaking to Hunter — tells Cleveland that Hunter needs to sign the form and provide a second form of ID
  • Turner than stood by the back office door and watched as Cleveland got Hunter to sign the form and provide a second form of ID
  • Turner runs the background check
  • Turner fills out the form and in the process records the car registration (and the passport)
  • Turner brings the form and the gun back out to Cleveland
  • He never speaks to Hunter
  • Palimere was not in the gun shop and witnesses and witnesses none of this

The shop owner, Ron Palimere (the guy who has a proffer agreement immunizing truthful testimony), offered a third story:

  • At some point Palimere comes over to the store from his pawn shop because he has been informed there is a celebrity customer
  • Cleveland comes back into the office with the form and the passport
  • Cleveland asks if he can use just the passport for ID
  • Palimere says he can
  • Palimere does so because he was trying to avoid holding up the sale

The gun shop owner — the one guy with immunity — says he approved selling the gun without getting proper ID. The guy on the hook for the background check, Turner, claims he instructed Cleveland that the gun could not be sold without a second ID. And Cleveland, the guy who signed the form, says Turner interacted with Hunter and via that process got a second form of ID. Statutes of limitation have expired on the sale itself — Weiss was too busy chasing Hunter to figure out whether a still-active gun dealer has a practice of letting celebrities buy guns without proper paperwork — but they have not for any document alteration in 2020 or 2021, and if either man provably lied on the stand, they could face perjury charges.

All this might pass unnoticed to the jury. But I have to imagine they’d be surprised by Turner’s insistence that he recorded the car registration in the form, when no such thing is recorded on the form.

Q. You see the books next to it, line 18(b), right under it?

A. Correct.

Q. It says supplemental government issued documentation, if the identification document does not show current residence, government issued photo identification, do you see that?

A. Yes.

Q. If it doesn’t show residence, do you see that?

A. Correct.

Q. You a moment ago said that the passport doesn’t have somebody’s address?

A. Correct.

Q. Then you said that you told Mr. Cleveland something, right?

A. He needed to get further government issued identification with an address on it.

Q. Right. And if he did, what would you do with that?

A. I would have written it right in there.

Q. But you don’t see such writing in there, do you?

A. When I wrote that out, I wrote the car registration.

Q. You don’t see such a writing in there, do you?

A. When I wrote that out, I wrote car registration.

Q. When you wrote this out, you wrote car registration here or car registration there?

A. 18(b), car registration.

Q. You wrote it?

A. I wrote it.

Q. Where is it?

A. I wrote vehicle registration in there.

Q. I’m asking you if you did and this is the form, where is it on the form that you say you wrote?

A. It’s not there.

The conflicting stories of the gun shop employees — particularly Turner’s testimony that he ordered Cleveland to do something that Cleveland says Turner did — certainly undermines Cleveland’s credibility, and therefore his value as a witness to the way in which Hunter filled out the form.

But as I’ve described there is another element of the offense to both the form-related charges, beyond just that Hunter knowingly lied on the form. One requires that a false claim be material to the sale; in this case, the gun shop owner testified that not having proper ID was not material to this sale. The other arises from the obligations on the gun shop to keep proper paperwork, which Turner’s testimony makes clear they did not (though discussion of which remained largely barred by Judge Noreika’s order prohibiting discussion of the later alterations).

Even without knowing that the form got doctored years after the fact, jurors may have reasonable doubt about what actually happened here.

And the conflicting testimony may oblige David Weiss to do something about it, something his prosecutors have been trying to avoid.

Somewhere between three and four years ago, according to Palimere, Turner altered a form in violation of instructions that Turner acknowledged are right there on the form. The men gave irreconcilable testimony on the stand.

If you’re going to prosecute Hunter Biden for lying on a form, how do you avoid prosecuting a gun shop that doctors a form after the fact? In other words, one of these guys risks joining Alexander Smirnov in legal hot water, because the imperative to prosecute Joe Biden’s son has revealed that one after another after another after another person did something really shady to make sure he’d be prosecuted.

DEA’s Los Angeles traffic expert

All of which may lead jurors to ask what they are doing here — not least, why they have spent days of their lives seeing evidence that Hunter Biden used drugs anytime other than the days leading up to October 11 (showing his mindset when he purchased the gun) and between then and October 23 (when Hallie disposed of it), when he wrote a book admitting to just that.

Prosecutors have buried the jury with one of the few things not in contention: that Hunter Biden struggled with addiction, with periods of sobriety and periods of desperate addiction.

The absurdity of all this may have come into focus on Friday during the testimony of Joshua Romig, the DEA expert brought in to to translate for jurors topics that were not in dispute.

As Romig described, his day job is investigating drug trafficking, including “some firearm offenses when it comes to drug traffickers.” But it is the trafficking itself that DEA is trying to shut down.

I did that for over five of the years that I was assigned to the DA’s office, was just investigate drug trafficking offenses. I was very briefly assigned to the warrant unit before I got hired by DEA, because my boss didn’t want me to get involved in anymore court cases because he knew I was leaving. And then since I have been a DEA agent, the only thing, we’re a single mission agency, all we do is investigate drug trafficking. There are nuances to those drug trafficking cases, we investigate money laundering when it comes to drugs, we investigate some firearm offenses when it comes to drug traffickers, theft of firearms, but my primary responsibility is to investigate drug trafficking.

Derek Hines — he of the sawdust as cocaine — started Romig’s testimony with a focus on how the drug trade works, which led Abbe Lowell to object and this contentious sidebar.

MR. HINES: It’s not going to be a long road, I’m merely establishing if the jury understands what cocaine is and generally where it comes from to get to its source distribution points, and that forms the basis for Mr. Romig to testify about how he knows what the drugs are and how the language works in the drug trade so he can give an opinion to the messages which I seek to put up. This won’t be a long road.

MR. LOWELL: Ten feet, 2 miles, what’s the length of the road?

MR. HINES: Not as long as the roads you travel, Mr. Lowell.

Then Hines launched into a review of communications from times other than October 2018 that continued for 37 minutes.

Lowell responded by going on at length himself, noting that all the communications Romig reviewed were for times other than October 2018, and with two exceptions, there were no communications with drug references from that period, neither of which required an expert to interpret them.

Q. You see the date, these are now October of 2018; right?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Take a look at those. All right. If you go to the next page, please. And you see those texts?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Okay. Now, you see on the 13th, go back one, please, Mr. Radic. Now go forward one, and go forward one. Okay. Look at those texts. Go forward one. Go forward one. That’s still in October of ’18. Please go forward one. Would you go another one? Do you see a reference to a Bernard at 10:13; right?

A. Yes. 119.

Q. Do you see that one?

A. I do.

Q. You didn’t do any independent investigation of who Bernard is or whether he even exists did you?

A. No, I didn’t do any investigation in this case.

Q. Got it.

A. I just was provided the messages that you see in front of you.

Q. And no need to interpret, because there is a word dealer there, so you didn’t need to interpret that one?

A. A lot of these messages don’t need much interpretation for me, correct.

Q. Go to the next one. That’s to Rows 125. Please go one more, please. I’m sorry, go back, you saw there is a reference in that to sleeping on a car, smoking crack, you don’t need to interpret that?

A. I don’t think I need to interpret that, no, sir.

Q. You don’t know whether that’s accurate or not, whether that’s where he was at the time; right? A. I don’t.

Q. Next one. Look at those. Next one, please, Mr. Radic. And again, we’re in October of 2018, right?

A. Correct.

Q. If you go to the next one, take a look at those. Like, for example, 1:35 on the 16th of October is one that says “hey buddy, it’s Richie Jones, checking in”, that’s no reference to drugs or anything like that, right?

A. It doesn’t appear to be, no.

Q. Go to the next one, Mr. Radic. With that. Go to one more, please. Okay. We’re in the end of October 2018. Go to one more. 1:49. And we’re still in October. Right? And then the next one. Do you see that’s at the going into November and after, do you see that?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. When you reviewed this chart before you came to court or at any point in your investigation, in what I just showed you from the period of time from August of 2018 through November of ’18, there is no reference in what you saw or analyzed of 1.4, is there, in those texts that I just went through with you?

A. No, I’m not sure when that 1.4 text was, but no, not in the ones we just reviewed.

Q. No reference or photo of any scale with white rocks on it in the texts I identified for you between August and November of 2018; correct?

A. Correct.

Q. No reference to baby powder in that period of time?

A. Correct.

Q. No reference to soft stuff in that period of time?

A. Correct.

Q. No reference to party favor in that period of time?

A. Correct. Q. No reference to grams in that period of time?

A. Correct.

Q. No reference to chore boy in that period of time?

A. That’s correct.

Q. No reference to one full in that period of time?

A. Correct.

Q. No reference to fentan in that period of time?

A. Yes. Correct.

Q. And no reference of a ball in that period of time?

A. Correct.

Q. Those last 4 or 5 were all the way into 2019 as we went through on the screen a moment ago, right?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And in that period of time, there is no pictures of a drug being used, right, no holding of a pipe, right?

A. None that I reviewed.

Q. No bags on a scale, right?

A. No, sir.

Q. No bags at all?

A. Correct.

Q. No videos of him weighing any drugs, right?

A. None that I reviewed, no.

Q. So all that you identified and what I went through with you, were for the years I said before and after the period of August of 2018 through the time that we identified those in November of ’18, that would be a fair statement I just made, isn’t it?

A. With the exception of the October text that we talked about, where he said he was smoking crack.

Q. I did those too. We identified those too. You’ll agree with me, no pictures, no photos, no scales, no white rocks, no chore boy, no fentan, no ball, no ounce, no grams, none of that?

A. Yes, sir, outside those two messages, you are correct.

Romig did describe that the size of cash withdrawals Hunter was making were consistent with drug use, but admitted he didn’t do any analysis of Hunter’s cash flow at the time.

And it’s not just the fact that Derek Hines (he of the sawdust as cocaine) asked this DEA expert to spend his time analyzing comms from periods other than October 2018. More importantly (as Lowell elicited), the DEA doesn’t spend its time reviewing the comms of end users, because the goal is to break up large scale drug trafficking.

Q. In your introducing your expertise and what you are testifying about, you indicated that your job and the job of your colleagues is to be trying to break up large scale distribution of drugs?

A. Correct.

Q. Usually not individual users?

A. That’s correct.

Q. And you don’t have any reason to understand that what Mr. Biden is on trial for has anything to do with him being a distributor?

A. Nothing that I have reviewed would indicate that.

Q. And you’re not investigating, or you didn’t investigate him for the time he was using?

A. I have never done that, no.

Q. You went over all those texts that had people’s names and numbers, some of which you just went over with Mr. Hines, and there were people that seemed to be the distributors, or at least the people that were selling him narcotics. Did you see those people’s texts?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. So as your job to try to break up large scale distribution, did you look into those people?


Q. My question was, you didn’t do that, not that you don’t know that it was done, not withstanding that you said your goal —

A. The DEA, as far as I know, but specifically me, or any of the groups that I supervise did not investigate any of the people based on my review of the sellers in this investigation.

Derek Hines’ DEA witness made it clear that this was not an effort to combat drug trafficking. Nor was it an effort to analyze even primarily the communications Hunter sent during the period he owned a gun.

This testimony put the issue of priorities before the jury.

As Manuel Estrada described when explaining to HJC why his top aides advised against getting involved in this case, there are — there should be — far higher priorities.

A Just around that. I mean, just to put it into perspective, it was a crisis mode when I came in because one of the major areas we have is national security. National Security covers not just foreign actors. It includes terrorist actors. It includes domestic extremism. And I’ve had to double the size of that division during the time I’ve been there, and we still can’t handle all of the cases we have there. Q And that’s today, even doubled, you don’t have sufficient attorneys to handle all of the cases? A Well, that’s true in every one of our areas. We don’t have enough AUSAs to handle our national security matters. We could be doing every AUSA in my office could be doing PPP fraud cases we have so much PPP fraud. Every Q PPP is the

A That’s the COVID fraud, COVID19 money fraud. Every AUSA in my office could be doing healthcare fraud cases we have so much healthcare fraud. We have to deploy our resources in the most effective manner to address the needs of the district. As I mentioned, we have a fentanyl epidemic. That includes not just deathresulting cases, it includes going after cartels which are distributing these pills, not just in powder form but in pill form. We routinely seize over a million pills at a time from vehicles, and we need to prosecute those cases. Each pill could be a death. And routinely now we’re finding cartels transporting fentanyl in liquid form, which is a new thing that they’re doing. So we have to do those cases.

We have a violent crime crisis where, for a variety of reasons, including some of the local policies, there has been an increase, certainly in our view, of violent crime and use of handguns in crimes. We have taco vendors on the streets getting robbed at gunpoint. So we are doing more of those types of offenses than we ever have before. We don’t have enough resources to do those.

But David Weiss reneged on a plea deal to chase a hoax from someone with ties to Russian intelligence and since then has been throwing everything he had — including this DEA expert’s time — reading texts from Hunter Biden from periods not remotely close to the period he owned a gun.

Judge Noreika has, properly, been working hard to guard against the jury nullifying this vote, voting that this whole thing is just so stupid and such a waste of time.

But Jeebus: with the human tragedy and the increasing consequences for those who campaigned to target Hunter Biden, what the fuck is the point. What are we doing such that the most important legal case in America serves primarily to subject Joe Biden’s family to the tragedy of his son’s addiction all over again?

95 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    Users shouldn’t be the high priorities in prosecutions. Dealers and distributors should be. Weiss sounds like he really believes that the “war on [some] drugs” is a good thing.

    • grizebard says:

      Spending all that precious witness time on setting-up a privileged individual dickhead as a proxy for the “war on drugs” seems to suggest that Weiss feels that his case against HB is rather weaker than he would wish.

      • David F. Snyder says:

        I don’t know Hunter, but I do know a couple people who were real dickheads while using but lovely, good-hearted people during their clean periods. That’s a different class of people from someone who’s a dickhead and yet supposedly clean, like 45.

    • bmaz says:

      They are if a part of the government is trying to turn them. But that is not the element here. And a MAGA effort to tar some Biden, any Biden. I did the kind of diversion deals Hunter originally entered long before the Hunter baloney. You had to get not only the USA, but also the court to agree. But you could do that.

  2. grizebard says:

    The motives of the others are fairly self-evident, but I find it hard to get into the head of Norieka here. What does she think she is achieving by so visibly collaborating in this dressed-up farce? Is it simply to make a salient (if petty) example of a president’s wayward son because she thought he was getting too sweet a deal, or because she’s aggrieved somehow by the political positions of the father, or what..?

    • emptywheel says:

      Only two of her decisions are entirely unreasonable. Her intervention in the plea itself probably is worse than we know (meaning, I suspect she told the head of Probation to refuse to sign the diversion agreement). And her decision to keep out the altered document is really problematic — though understandable as to goal, to prevent jury nullification.

      RE: the plea hearing. Keep in mind that she was likely getting threats at that point too, as everyone else was.

      • Harry Eagar says:

        Is forestalling jury nullification part of a judge’s job or just individual inclination?

      • Shadowalker says:

        She may also have misapplied Rule 902 on the laptop and possibly the other digital evidence.
        Here’s excerpts of committee notes when they formulated that rule.
        “ The reference to the “certification requirements of Rule 902(11) or (12)” is only to the procedural requirements for a valid certification. There is no intent to require, or permit, a certification under this Rule to prove the requirements of Rule 803(6).”

        And they go further with an example:

        “ For example, in a criminal case in which data copied from a hard drive is proffered, the defendant can still challenge hearsay found in the hard drive, and can still challenge whether the information on the hard drive was placed there by the defendant.”

      • grizebard says:

        Yes. But whatever happened to “the whole truth”?

        The (at least superficial) motivation of the latter is fair enough, but rather begs the question. Why such need to protect the prosecution, other than some prior determination to convict regardless of the accumulation of manifest flaws?

        As to the likely intervention with Probation, I am no wiser as to motivation. It speaks of malice aforethought. This constitutional violation in the name of protecting the constitution is doing a lot of heavy lifting. And for what?

        I don’t take it as read that judges are that pliable to implicit threat, real enough though it may be. (If they are, the Rule of Law is already dead.) Somehow I prefer a more individual explanation, though I cannot fathom what.

      • Brad Cole says:

        She’s in charge of this.

        “Q. You wrote it?

        A. I wrote it.

        Q. Where is it?

        A. I wrote vehicle registration in there.

        Q. I’m asking you if you did and this is the form, where is it on the form that you say you wrote?

        A. It’s not there.”

      • HGillette says:

        Should there be a conviction, could her decision to keep out the altered document be brought up in an appeal?

  3. Rayne says:

    While 75% of the overdose deaths in 2022 were due to opioids, deaths from psychostimulants and cocaine had been rising since 2019. The total number of deaths in the US over the last decade is staggering; drug overdose has killed more than influenza each year, and more than automobile accidents.

    [source: ]

    But sure, let’s use all kinds of law enforcement resources to go after one guy who may/may not have been using during 11 days in 2019. We certainly wouldn’t want to go after a gun dealer, either.

    EDIT: Since a particular commenter doesn’t seem to grasp this, deaths are a concrete number by which overall drug abuse can be extrapolated, since exact numbers of opioids, psychostimulants, and cocaine abusers aren’t readily available. Hunter Biden is but one person in a rising flood of abuse for which our country hasn’t developed an effective response; we’re spending exorbitant amounts of taxpayer dollars but they’re not addressing root causes AND the situation set up the opportunity to compromise and target persons for political purposes.

        • bmaz says:

          The “lol” is as to how the drug deaths relate to the prosecution of Hunter. They do not..

        • Bob Roundhead says:

          But it does relate to “ the Greek tragedy of Americas Hunter Biden Addiction “, right? That is the title and subject of the post. There is a forest among the trees.

    • P J Evans says:

      The resources would be better used going after dealers and distributors, but these guys seem to be stuck in the “war on [some] drugs” era.

    • Spencer Dawkins says:

      Rayne, thank you for your frequent helpful observations (and for your work as a moderator), but the paragraph beginning with “Edit” is a concise and useful description of the opportunity costs that this ridiculous bi-coastal prosecution is incurring on the behalf of US taxpayers.

      Look, I get it. There are laws on the books, and if you’re indicted, and convicted beyond a reasonable doubt, the people pursuing you can preen as law-and-order peacocks, because we’re a nation of laws. But that’s not the same as convincing people this is the highest and best use of DEA and DoJ resources. At least, they haven’t convinced me yet.

      • Rayne says:

        Not just DEA and DOJ but ATF as well. Go to Google News and search for “firearm -biden” — it’s not difficult to see the problem is the ready availability of guns. Hunter Biden might never have been able to buy a gun had there been more regulatory measures implemented to screen out buyers, but NRA as a GOP and Russian proxy has ensured “a well regulated militia” is not a thing.

        Imagine the furor on the right if a urine and/or blood test was required in addition to a background check for a gun sale. But how else would the gun seller or the government know with any real degree of certainty the purchaser isn’t currently using addictive illicit substances?

        The prosecution of Hunter Biden is really the opposite of what’s needed: all these resources are being spent to ensure a gun-owning drug-abusing convicted felon will beat Joe Biden so that gun sales can continue unfettered, and the felon-as-candidate’s drug access goes unimpeded by incarceration.

        • EuroTark says:

          Sarcasm-mode activated: How about hair-samples taken at the point of sale, and only people with at least 6 months worth of hair-growth is eligible?

        • Rayne says:

          Reply to EuroTark
          June 10, 2024 2:49 pm

          LOL queue the squealing about privacy rights from Second Amendment obsessives, combined with more squealing about the science being inaccurate and only documenting past exposure, not active usage, blah-blah-blah

    • EuroTark says:

      Firstly, some context. When talking about causes of death in the context of statistics, we’re usally talking about the underlying cause, defined as “the disease or injury that initiated the train of events leading directly to death, or the circumstances of the accident or violence which produced the fatal injury.” This matters not so much for the overdoses or traffic deaths, but it does matter quite a bit for influenza. In short, influenza is very often the direct cause of death for the weakened and/or elderly, while the underlying cause can even be the cancer whose treatment has weakened your immune response. I’ve linked EuroMOMO‘s graphs here before, and you can literally see the the bad influenza season in early 2019. (Likewise, no points for guessing the cause for the 2020-03 spike)

      Regarding deaths from narcotics, here in Europe we usually go with the EMCDDA’s definitions for drug-related deaths (overdose and others). There are still ways to creatively miscode drug-related deaths though, and one of the more common is coding directly for hepatitis when you should code the underlying substance abuse that’s the root cause for sharing dirty needles. Anyways, the EMCDDA definitions has some differences from what the CDC uses: EMCDDA only accepts X41-42, X61-62 and Y11-12 in the presence of T40.X or T43.6. The CDC accepts a wider range of external codes, but ignores the mental behavior codes F11–F12, F14–F16, and F19. The result is that the CDC only counts the very direct overdoses and not the wider societal impact.

      • Rayne says:

        All that clouds the underlying point which you made in your very last comment: the US “CDC only counts the very direct overdoses and not the wider societal impact.

        The deaths the CDC attributes to drug overdoses — not other overdoses which don’t result in death, or other physical or mental injuries predicating or resulting from drug abuse — remain a proxy for the much larger number of drug abusers and the damage these drugs impose on the US.

        The way the US federal and state governments responded to the oxycondone crisis is an example of the system’s inability to deal effectively with root causes which result in so many deaths.

        • EuroTark says:

          The way the US federal and state governments responded to the oxycondone crisis is an example of the system’s inability to deal effectively with root causes which result in so many deaths.

          Completely agree. As I understand it, most cops in the US considers anyone carrying naloxone (the opioid “antidote”) to be supporting drug use, giving me atleast the impression that overdose fatalities are in some ways wanted. Over here it’s standard for both EMTs and cops to carry it.

          I just found it strange that the CDC would include the -0 and -3 codes which are not narcotics as the term is widely understood; I forgot that EMCDDA does count the -4 ‘unspecified’ codes. As I alluded to, all of this requires that causes are coded properly. Again my understanding is that a frightening amount of medical examiners does not have any medical training at all.

  4. dopefish says:

    A lot is going to depend on Lowell’s closing. If he can focus the jury on the inconsistencies in the testimony and paint it as a desperate effort to prosecute Hunter for political reasons, perhaps they will acquit. It might be too much to hope for, though.

    I think Weiss and co. deserve to lose this case for reneging on the plea deal and for trying to hobble Hunter’s defense in ways they must know are likely to lose on appeal. They wanted a salacious trial before the election, and they got it. But they’ve wasted enough gov’t money on this already.

    • emptywheel says:

      If he succeeds in getting acquittals in the documents, then he can more easily appeal the remaining one.

      And I think the diversion agreement might be upheld on appeal, and if that happens before the CA trial, might cause problems there.

  5. Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

    Thinking about this story it really seems to fit the right-wing Republican pattern of behavior. Right now the saga of Monica Lewinsky and Ken Starr comes to mind. At one point Starr just wanted to give up since there was nothing of substance there and the right wing backlash he got from suggesting that forced him to keep going. He was told get something. Anything.

    And we know what happened after that. An utter triviality was elevated to the status of impeachable offense and almost topped the hated enemy. So much for being a “waste of time” from their point of view.

    But of greater consequence is that the Republicans learned to never give up. Seize as much taxpayer dollars as you possibly can to conduct endless investigations and prosecutions no matter how flimsy the evidence or even if there is no evidence at all. Something will turn up. And then pump the media cycle. Votes and donations roll in.

    This Hunter Biden thing is just another implementation of that. From Trump’s point of view it is already been one of the more successful buttresses against his sagging popularity. Not a waste of time at all.

  6. Error Prone says:

    If the jury acquits, is there then an argument to be made that the other part of the plea deal, now with the gun business done and resolved, should be separately controlling?

    There were two prosecution signed plea resolution documents. Was the misdemeanor pleas with no incarceration time document, conditioned [expressly in the papers or otherwise] on both together, how might that be argued should the gun situation be resolved in Biden’s favor?

    • freebird says:

      It is like the judge and prosecutors are intentionally creating a stressful situation to trigger a relapse. All the repenting and rehabilitation could be for naught because of this draconian trial.

      • Cheez Whiz says:

        Always remember that Trump’s plea to Zelenskyy was to just announce he was opening an investigation, “we’ll take it from there” (IIRC). All they need is a fig leaf blessed by “authority”, a Congressional commitee, the DOJ, or the head of a foreign country. Then the machine kicks into gear.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    There’s not much evidence that this prosecution will advance any policy goal of the DoJ. It’s primary effects will be the political embarrassment of a Democratic president and exposing his families hurts for public consumption.

  8. Mark Corker says:

    Would there have been any value in defence calling an expert medical witness on defining and diagnosing an addict?
    Typically going down that road highlights all the subjectivity involved and exposes the fact that even experts can disagree. How many addicts correctly diagnose themselves? Therefore there is reasonable doubt around Hunter ticking that box?

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t think it would be helpful for Hunter Biden’s case but I can’t help wondering if the drugs were an unconscious mechanism for dealing with not only depression but neurodivergence, like ADD or ADHD.

      An in-law died of an overdose; in hindsight they likely had been self medicating for anxiety and depression. This says a lot about our culture and our healthcare system.

        • bird of passage says:

          STOP, please. This is no subject for trolling remarks. I’m damn sick of reading these hateful remarks of yours, bmaz.

          [Moderator’s note: please don’t waste your time and effort or the thread space because he ignores all complaints about his behavior. Your complaint is noted, however. /~Rayne]

      • P J Evans says:

        I self-medicate my depression with carbs. It isn’t good for me – but my taste buds enjoy it.

      • Clare Kelly says:

        Thank you for this valuable observation and please accept my condolences for your loss.

        I helped a HS friend of my son’s through his opioid addiction.

        He was subsequently diagnosed with ADHD in addition to PTSD from his early childhood years in Ukraine.

        So many lives are now personally affected by addiction, including the jury pool in this case.

      • says:


        People with severe ADHD can lose as many phones and laptops as Hunter did, but without ever touching illegal drugs or alcohol.

        Having attended primary and secondary school from the mid-1970s to mid-to-late 1980s, means Hunter’s only chance for proper diagnosis would have had to come as an adult. The diagnosis comes sooner if you have a MAJOR adult-life — but EARLY — screw up…although it’s possible some of this could have been attributed to his car accident (early trauma).

        Hunter didn’t ‘fail early enough,’ nor ‘big enough’ (he appeared to be high functioning as an alcohol-addict, at least) to avoid the mid-life melt down his brother’s death triggered.

        I hope he’s been diagnosed by now and has stopped, or slowed down, the losing phones and laptops, among other things.

        • 2strange says:

          The car accident, in 1972, that killed Hunter Biden’s mother and sister, also gave Hunter a skull fracture (and Beau a broken leg). I wonder if that head injury had any long term repercussions?

      • coalesced says:

        Quite possible. Undiagnosed/untreated ADHD = 6 x more likely to present with substance use disorder later in life. I wish he had presented to someone more competent/ethical than Ablow. Ketamine was never the answer.

      • emptywheel says:

        I will say, though, that as many as 5 of the jurors have personal experience with people struggling with addiction, including some who had friends or family members who didn’t make it.

        • says:

          Using a CNN beakdown of the jurors

          NBC story about jury selection,

          I’ve ascertained the following about HB trial jurors (by matching the disparate numbers by descriptions), based only, of course, on what these in-court observers selected to report about them!

          1) Previous personal drug/alcohol use (1 juror)
          1a – CNN 5 (matched to NBC reported jury pool member #20), male “recent graduate” has a DUI arrest, guilty plea for it, and has attended AA meetings, and feels that historically “the civil rights movement showed failures by US law enforcement in treating African Americans fairly under the law.”

          2) Family or close friend drug use/abuse (1 OD death; 3 with family members with drug-related incarceration; 2 with alcohol/drug problems, and death mentioned, but deaths not clearly linked in short blurbs given):
          2a – CNN 11(#38) was sole SEATED juror reported to give positive indication of overdose death –best friend from childhood overdosed on heroin. Two with drug-addicted family members spoke about death.
          2b – CNN 8 (#33) has a bro who served a year for drug posession and dad was killed ‘in gun crime’ in 2004. Don’t know if murder was drug-related.
          2c – CNN 1 (#3), whose sister was in and out of drug rehab, jailed either for drug crimes or money-to-get-drugs crimes, but has been clean 10 years.
          2d – CNN 12 (#39) has bro addicted to PCP, and heroin, “admitted to rehab many times,” and he does not know if bro is currently clean.
          2e – CNN 10 (#37) said bro & dad, now both deceased, suffered ‘disease’ of alcoholism. Don’t know if alcoholism and deaths were related.

          3) Only 2 confirmed PERSONAL gun ownership and 1 close-ownership (husband):
          3a – CNN 9 (#34) “middle-aged nonwhite woman” owns a firearm, bought in PA.
          3b – CNN 6 (#26) “middle-aged black male” who owns several guns — more than 6 over his lifetime — is a concealed carry permit holder in DE and FL, and believes 2nd Amendment rights are fundamental.
          3c – CNN 2, discussed in 5a, said hubby owns handgun.

          4) Others with family gun ownership and/or sport:
          4a – CNN 4 (#19) dad and bro are gun owners,
          4b – CNN 11 (see 2a above–#38, whose close childhood friend ODed on heroin) said “her family hunts” and members own rifles; she owns no guns herself.
          4c – CNN 7 (#31) ‘younger male’ reported father ‘owns a few’ guns.

          5) Law-enforcement connected jurors:
          5a – CNN 2 (#5) is former US Secret Service worker where her hubby served in UNIFORM division. Her hubby still owns a handgun (3c above).
          5b – CNN Alternate1 (#50, 6a below)’s bro was a cop but he now “holds public office.”

          6) After CNN 3 (#16) was dismissed, one of 4 alternates replaced her, but judge has not yet said whom. All 4 are female:
          6d – #65 O’Bama donor,
          6c – #53 who gets her news from “her dad and Twitter”, says many friends have ODed on drugs (but did she understand question?)
          6a – #50 who has served on cop-civil-rights-violation and other civil trial juries before, and
          6b – #52 mom of school-aged kids who thinks more gun restrictions are needed to curb school shootings.

          My matches if you want to check my work (left is CNN juror placement number, middle is NBC reported juror number and my ascertainment of gender, and right-most bracket number-letter corresponds to my mentions above.

          1. # 3 F (2c)
          2. # 5 F (3c, 5a) Former US Secret Service worker that Fox News went crazy about.
          3. #16 F (dismissed)
          4. #19 F (4a)
          5. #20 M (1a)
          6. #26 M (3b)
          7. #31 M (4c)
          8. #33 M (2b)
          9. #34 F (3a)
          10. #37 M (2e)
          11. #38 F (2a, 4b)
          12. #39 M (2d)

          Aternates, in order CNN mentioned (which may not correspond to order of placement if called upon to replace a seated juror, and 1 of them already has).
          Alt1. #50 F (5b, 6a)
          Alt2. #52 F (6b)
          Alt3. #53 F (6c)
          Alt4. #65 F (6d)

      • Shadowalker says:

        I saw reporting it was 6. As well as 6 are current firearms owners, so at least half the jury has personal experience with someone who was addicted to drugs as well as the process of purchasing a firearm.

  9. David F. Snyder says:

    As Don Henley once sang, Americans love their dirty laundry. Or maybe this lyric from Genesis’ song Domino :

    Well now you never did see such a terrible thing
    As you’ve seen last night on the T.V
    Maybe if we’re lucky, they will show it again
    Such a terrible thing to see.

    In any event, I hope Hunter is getting the support he needs to get through this very publicized airing of dirty laundry while remaining clean and sober. My heart goes out to his family (including his ex) — yet they can be grateful he came out of all that alive. Many do not. So thank you, Marcy, for compassionately acknowledging the tragedy hidden behind the lines while keeping it real. Yet another reason to keep coming back to emptywheel.

  10. NYsportsfanSufferer says:

    All this trial has proven is a drug addict in the throes of deep dark addiction bought a gun to take their life.

    It’s pretty sick of Weiss and company to do this to anybody. They just ripped open the wounds and scars Hunter has worked 5 years on healing. They made him relive his darkest days. All while his family and friends had to sit and watch it again.

  11. Magnet48 says:

    OT but it does look as if trump’s national presence/influence seriously increased the overdose deaths. I truly believe that he has opened the floodgates of criminality but perhaps it’s the rightwing movement worldwide behind it.

    • emptywheel says:

      COVID had a big role in that, though.

      Though it’s worth noting that Trump does best in places with heavy addiction problems, even in 2016.

      • Capemaydave says:


        Overall, drug overdose deaths rose from 2019 to 2022 with 107,941 drug overdose deaths reported in 2022. Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) continued to rise with 73,838 overdose deaths reported in 2022. Those involving stimulants, including cocaine or psychostimulants with abuse potential (primarily methamphetamine), also continued to increase with 27,569 and 34,022 respective deaths in 2022 (Source: CDC WONDER).

      • Bob Roundhead says:

        It has been my experience that the vast majority of addicts see the world in black and white. Their perception of reality forces everything into this point of view, even among those living with addicts. This is his appeal. He is an addict himself. He speaks their language.

  12. Thomas_H says:

    It’s likely irrelevant but I’m curious about the Hallie Biden testimony regarding the center console lock. Did anyone question her under oath if she broke the lock herself? The police report taken regarding the gun disposal and recovery incident seems to indicate a jealousy motive on her part for searching the truck.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      I believe her testimony was that the truck was in good shape when she handed it over. That means that unless you believe she perjured herself in re: Dad, we have to accept her sworn testimony.

      • Soundgood2 says:

        I think you’re mixing up Bidens. His daughter had the truck when it was in good condition and the console was locked. She gave it to her father in that condition. Hallie is the one who found the gun in the console. She is the one who says the lock was broken. Only Hunter could cast doubt on that if he takes the stand.

    • Fancy Chicken says:


      I wondered this too.

      I haven’t found Hallie Biden’s testimony as read that compelling. There’s a few places where an alternate explanation is more compelling. Even the difference between Naomi Biden’s testimony about how the car was clean ands then a few days later it seems like a homeless junkie moved in. I dunno, just seems too extreme even dealing with an addict.

      That said, I have no idea how Hallie’s demeanor and the questioning landed with the jury.

      • emptywheel says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised if Lowell pointed out that virtually all the live witnesses don’t remember anything. Not Hallie, not Gordon Cleveland, not the ex-wife, not Naomi.

        The only person who remembered everything was Kestan, who may have been threatened with criminal charges.

  13. Savage Librarian says:

    Light of Day

    Chinese pot for Comer’s farm
    You know that MAGAt by his charm
    He saved some by his firearm
    Kemp says hemp, so no harm

    That hump who wants to do his daughter
    Hopes to do someone hotter
    She could help him in his slaughter
    and with PR for coup plotters

    It’s all about another chance
    Ask L’il Marco or J. D. Vance
    Cotton carries on with rants
    And Tim Scott circles in a prance

    Donald’s Donalds enjoys the thunder
    Elise and Carson honor plunder
    Burgum vies to buckle under
    for a contender gone asunder

    It’s BOGO, but no one’s free
    Not in this here GOP
    with a crazy nominee
    intent to kill democracy

    He means exactly what he has to say
    When he’s back there’s hell to pay
    It’s time to see the light of day
    Dump Trump, vote the American way

  14. jv_08JUN2024_1513h says:

    Can some stats whiz run the probability of a case taking the turns it has with Hunter Biden?

    Is it:
    the odds that this kind of crime is charged at all
    the odds that a plea deal of this kind of federal crime gets “revoked” by the judge
    the odds that a guilty plea of this kind of crime leads to jail time
    = ?

    Anecdotally, it feels like a one-in-50M+ kind of chance.
    What a coincidence it’s happening to the Biden family.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We have adopted this minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is far too short it has been temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Also note you must supply a different email address and not a throwaway email address or one used by others; “[email protected]” has been submitted repeatedly by other new commenters and is not acceptable here. We do not require a working/validated email, just one that is unique to you, not disposable, and used every time you comment. /~Rayne]

  15. bgThenNow says:

    Thank you so much for all your posts on this, Marcy. It is not surprising so many jurors have personal experience with the tragedy of the disease. Having recently lost someone I loved to addiction, someone who tried many times to recover and could not, I know recovery is always just day by day, relapse is so common. Overdose is the easy way out. The fact that so many family members have been in the courtroom to support him [with the most important, his father, unable (but surely not unwilling) to be there], is possibly the best demonstration to the jury of the character of the family, whatever personal failings have been on display. Jurors can put themselves in their places.

    The problems with the form and the way it was handled by the gun sellers, the fact that only one party in the transaction is being held to account about how/who put what information on it, seems incredible.

    I hope the jurors send the prosecution packing. It is so outrageous what has gone on. Thanks again, Marcy.

  16. Savage Librarian says:

    One day in one of the branches I managed, I found a crack pipe on the floor next to a public computer station. I contacted the Sheriff’s department and they sent an officer. When he got there he chewed me out for wasting his time. He took the pipe. And that was that.

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the person who left the pipe owned a gun. It is what it is. Goes with the territory in my experience. At least some 2nd Amendment people know that, most likely.

    And maybe people shouldn’t be judges or politicians or Special Counsels if they are cowardly. There are plenty of other professions for smart people. Or maybe they should become Democrats and start cleaning up the mess Republicans have made.

    • Rayne says:

      Why did the sheriff’s office even bother to dispatch an officer if the officer was simply going to scold you about your call? Rhetorical question, no answer required — it bothers me that people we’re paying treat us like crap. Definitely not serving and defending the public.

      Agree whole heartedly about the suitability for public office — especially judges. Average citizens can’t rely on law enforcement to protect them the way judges can if they receive a threat.

      • Just Some Guy says:

        I had a similar situation happen 4 years ago when I found a syringe in the middle of the church parking lot down the street from my house late on a Saturday morning. It took two calls to finally get a police officer dispatched to clean it (I didn’t have an appropriate container to dispose it, otherwise I would have done it myself), and when he finally showed up, he tried to start an argument about it, especially about who uses drugs, needle exchanges, etc.

        I sat near the syringe for over an hour until it was disposed, in order to make sure not only did it get disposed of, but that nobody would be stuck. As it happened, one of our neighbors took their toddler for a shoeless stroll through the parking lot.

        In contrast, the year before we were on a trip to Bloomington, Indiana and came across a clutch of syringes in a park near a playground on a Sunday morning. Obviously we had nothing to dispose the syringes safely then, either. But with just one call, within fifteen minutes a city parks employee came by and swiftly disposed of the syringes, with none of the pompous, moralistic sermonizing of our highly-ineffective, supremely-incompetent police department.

        • Rayne says:

          Seems like it would be worth it to municipalities to have a specialized disposal team which would document calls as necessary and safely retrieve and discard what is hazardous medical waste in many cases.

        • Winterspring Summerfall says:

          Our studio is in an area with a large population of users. There were a few seasons where our doorstep was constantly littered with syringes. Police outreach just gave us a red plastic sharps disposal bin and told us to use that ourselves to deposit whatever we found.

          Nowadays they mostly leave scraps of tinfoil and burnt paper (fentanyl methods).

    • bgThenNow says:

      I found a syringe loaded with heroin on the sidewalk in front of my house one morning. I’m sure whoever dropped it was missing it badly. I took it to my local pharmacy and asked if they would have a way to dispose of it. They took it. I’ve found my share of used needles here and there. They don’t scare me. I’m more afraid of the police.

      • Just Some Guy says:

        Keep in mind the time frame for my anecdote: about a month or so after our city’s police department extrajudiciously killed Breonna Taylor in her own home, but before many details were locally known, and certainly before her fate was known nationwide. The link being, of course, that her apartment was raided on a faulty warrant connected to a simultaneous drug raid in another, far-flung part of the city.

        • Fancy Chicken says:

          Hey, I’m from the Ville too! Lived there till my 30’s and then came back for a brief time coincidentally around the time OWS started.

          From what I hear back home, policing in the West End has gotten really problematic, but that the community is starting to organize and fight back. I’ve heard from more than one friend that the police need to be under a consent decree it’s gotten so bad.

        • Just Some Guy says:

          Reply to Fancy Chicken
          June 9, 2024 at 10:48 am

          It’s been bad for an awful long time, and unfortunately the DoJ and the city have yet to finish negotiating the consent decree.

          Also, unfortunately, we have a “new” mayor who, halfway into his first term, seems even more disinterested in reforming the Louisville Metro Police Department than his feckless three-term predecessor.

          What is the OWS?

      • Tracy Lynn says:

        I may have missed the boat, but how did you know the syringe was loaded with heroin? And, FYI, I am more afraid of the police, as well.

  17. Badger Robert says:

    Excellent reporting. The jurors have to notice that Hallie disposed of the gun, and if Mr. Biden was an addict at one time, he is not addicted currently. That might be enough for reasonable doubt. They could logically see the elements of the crime as having been proven, but there is no requirement for them to be completely logical.
    According to Ms. Wheeler’s analysis, the jurors may perceive Biden is being prosecuted because he was an addict, and the President’s son. The gun crime is insignificant.
    But as Marcy writes: Hasn’t Hunter Biden been through enough stuff?

  18. Booksellerb4 says:

    But why did Hunter buy the gun? Hallie’s texts imply her concerns that Hunter has suicidal intentions, but I haven’t been following the testimony closely enough to know whether that aspect has been brought up. Has it?

    Since recovery (from addition or a traumatic event) is measured “one day at a time”, it’s not far-fetched to me to think that on at least at few days (post LA rehab and pre Keatmine treatments) between October 10 and October 24, 2018, Hunter might well have used “positive affirmation” and could have checked that box indicating “No I’m not a drug addict” without guile or deceit.

    Because if he was thinking of killing himself, or was making some kind of weird bet with himself that he would either “shock the monkey” (refute Hallie’s jealousy or defeat his demons) or cash it all in (give up the fight) that would be some powerful testimony, IMHO. Guess we’ll see on Monday.

    Thank you, Dr. Wheeler, for all the info you share on this site. I sent my TY to Houston, too!

    Ref: Peter Gabriel 1982, “Shock the Monkey” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

  19. Booksellerb4 says:

    Just a quick nit at the beginning – under

    Familial Tragedy
    Start with Naomi Biden’s testimony. [s/b Hallie]?

    • emptywheel says:

      Nope. Naomi. I do describe Hallie’s earlier testimony. But the point I was trying to make is that I think the defense was trying to do very specific things to undercut Hallie’s testimony.

  20. Booksellerb4 says:

    Oh, yes, sorry ’bout that chief ;)
    On further review, I see how you later tie in Naomi’s take with Hallie’s wrt to Familial Tragedy, and deception.

    “. . .wondering, as I am, whether and if so what might have led Hunter to break the lock on his own console where he had a gun and from which two bullets were taken out of their box. . .”
    As do I.

  21. Babalootoo says:

    Looooong time lurker, first time poster. Be kind.

    But I was really struck by the line from Hallie’s text on 10/23: “You have lost your mind hunter. I’m sorry I handled it poorly today but you are in huge denial about yourself…”

    I’m guessing we all know about denial. Who among us hasn’t vowed to eat healthier? A morning omelette, noontime salad, and roasted chicken dinner later, and the next day most of us would swear that we really are healthy eaters. Except, of course, the next night we chow down on a double cheeseburger and milkshake. Denial.

    Which is to say, that any descriptor of ourselves is not only subjective and transitory but probably with a healthy (let alone huge) dose of denial.

  22. LaMissy! says:

    I can say from personal experience that there are few things worse than to have someone come at your vulnerable child as a way to get at you. Joe Biden was never my first choice for president, but he and his family have displayed their love and tenacity to protect and support one another in a way that is a deeply moving example of morality.

    I hope Weiss et al’s dicks shrivel up and fall off in the most painful of ways.

  23. Zinsky123 says:

    David Brooks of the NYT, who I rarely agree with, said that watching the Hunter Biden trial unfold made him feel like he needed a shower. It is all so sad and sordid. The son of a vice president, living in Super 8 motels and smoking crack endlessly sounds like Hell on Earth to me. Buying that gun was due to drug paranoia on Hunter’s part and the way Hailie disposed of it was childish and foolish. These gun charges are really crimes without a victim – other than Hunter Biden himself and the loving family who supported him through this hellish lifestyle. He needs mental health and addiction counseling, not jail time. Not guilty.

    • emptywheel says:


      Partly bc I’m wondering if Brooks misunderstands when the Super 8 was. This is the bit Derek Hines has deliberately misrepresented, suggesting it is what Hunter was like in October 2018, not February 2019.

      • dopefish says:

        RealClearPolitics highlighted Brooks’ remarks with a video clip of that part of the PBS broadcast, and this transcript:

        I felt sort of dirty following the trial. I mean, he’s a lost soul. I mean, he’s — the guy is in the shadow of his father. He’s in the shadow of his really kind of amazing brother.

        And he’s lost, and he has a drug problem. And drug addiction leads you to horrible things. It leads you to wandering around the middle of the night trying to get your supply. And it’s unpleasant to look at. And so I just thought this wouldn’t have been tried if it wasn’t the son of the president, in my view.

        And so I just felt creepy that we’re all exposed to this. And let him have some dignity. Will it affect the election? Absolutely not. The conviction of Donald Trump I don’t think is affecting the election. So whatever happens to Hunter Biden, I don’t think it will affect the election. So I don’t think so.

        • Clare Kelly says:

          Note the look on Jonathan Capehart’s face after David Brooks said “The conviction of Donald Trump I don’t think is affecting the election”.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      On its face, perhaps. But David Brooks does not change his spots. Lamenting a sad state of affairs is an exploitable way to promote them, while appearing to have character and be above the fray. Very on-brand for Mr. Brooks.

      • Just Some Guy says:

        I’m sure Brooks is weeping into his fictional overpriced airport burger.

        Between him, Bedbug Bret, Religious Zealot Ross, Moronic Maureen, and Not-Even-Plausible Pamela, it’s difficult to choose which NYT Opinion columnist is the worst. To put it another way, they’re all so bad they’re starting to make Tom Friedman’s columns seem halfway readable.

  24. boloboffin says:

    It’s no wonder the Republicans in charge pressed Weiss to ignore the plea deal. A nullification is as good as a conviction for the people eager to distract from Trump’s legal woes. Better, in fact. Weiss resisting them would have been just as good as a nullification. It was all win-win-win for them.

    Still, damn Weiss for acquiescing.

  25. Rugger_9 says:

    OT until Rayne gets to her three things: It seems Lindsey Graham felt the need to go on CBS’ Face the Nation this morning and claim that D-Day was a failure and part of an unnecessary war (trying to name-check Churchill on this while missing a whole lot of background to Churchill’s opinion). Of course, the Internet jumped on his butt for the offense, because as a veteran himself he really needed to know better. While Lindsey is bending over backwards to debase himself and the oaths he took for the sake of a dictator wannabe and a Czar wannabe, he might recall that Churchill’s point was that there were dozens of opportunities to stop the Nazis prior to the invasion of Poland which were not followed because the powers that were had no spine for what would be needed. Churchill never wavered in his defense against militarism in either world war which is the exact point Lindsey doesn’t understand but should.

    Paraphrasing Churchill’s comment about Neville Chamberlin after the Munich sellout of the Czechs: ‘He had a choice between war and dishonor. He chose dishonor but he will have war’.

    • Rayne says:

      What an opportunity for contrast and comparison with Mitch McConnell who published an op-ed in NYT about D-Day which doesn’t sound like it came from the guy who avoided doing anything constructively pre-emptive about the twice-impeached fascist autocrat wannabe.

      …Germany is now a close ally and trading partner. But it was caught flat-footed by the rise of a new axis of authoritarians made up of Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. So, too, were the advanced European powers who once united to defeat the Nazis.

      Like the United States, they responded to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine in 2014 with wishful thinking. The disrepair of their militaries and defense industrial bases, and their overreliance on foreign energy and technology, were further exposed by Russia’s dramatic escalation in 2022. …

      Today, the better part of valor is to build credible defenses before they are necessary and demonstrate American leadership before it is doubted any further.

      Blah-de-blah-blah with this bullshit while he’s giving a crypto wank job to Putin’s useful idiot running for re-election.

  26. bird of passage says:

    Mean and meaningless interjections of name-calling day-after-day, month-after-month, is the definition of trolling.

    I do hope someone can reach your better angels, bmaz.

    bmaz June 10, 2024 at 1:14 pm
    “And I am sick of ignorant twits that do not understand law, but insist in blowing shit out of their ass anyway. Take a flight, “Bird”.

    By the way “Bird”, I have trolled nobody.”

Comments are closed.