Hunter Biden’s ex-girlfriend has told a jury he was abusing crack cocaine “every 20 minutes or so” when they first met.

The US president’s son is on trial in Wilmington, Delaware, on charges related to his possession of a firearm while allegedly using narcotics.

Zoe Kestan, who met Mr Biden, 54, during a “private dance” at a “gentleman’s club” in New York, told the court he was often withdrawing cash for drug deals.
It is the first criminal trial for the son of a sitting US president.

He is accused of knowingly lying on federal paperwork when he said he was not a drug user in order to buy a revolver and ammunition from a Wilmington gun shop on 12 October 2018, as well as illegally having the gun for 11 days.

Mr Biden could face up to 25 years in prison if found guilty of all three federal counts in the case.
He has pleaded not guilty and his legal team says he was in recovery at the time he bought the weapon.
The prosecution is expected to rest its case on Thursday after calling on 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 other prosecution witnesses was Gordon Cleveland, the former employee of the gun store who sold Mr Biden the gun in 2018.

In his testimony on Wednesday, Mr Cleveland said he told Mr Biden – and all other customers – to “truthfully” fill out the form.
The prosecution is trying to prove that Hunter Biden, who wrote a memoir about his drug addiction, was abusing crack cocaine at the time he bought the weapon.
During opening remarks earlier this week, Mr Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, told jurors that the revolver was an impulse buy stemming from the tactics of a pushy salesman – Mr Cleveland.
In his testimony, Mr Cleveland acknowledged his reputation as a “whale hunter” known for being able to “sell whatever you had”, mostly expensive, high-quality guns.

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He denied, however, ever trying to “upsell” Mr Biden, who he claimed had come into the store and “brought up” buying a gun, specifically a revolver.

On Wednesday, the defendant’s stepmother, US first lady Jill Biden, was again in court.

She sat in the first row behind Hunter Biden, along with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, and a Secret Service agent.

President Joe Biden is 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 testified on the third day of the trial.

Ms Kestan detailed Hunter Biden’s drug use during their relationship.
On the first day they met at the gentleman’s club in December 2017, she said he started smoking crack “within 10 minutes”.

She said she saw this pattern repeated during their relationship in luxury hotel rooms in New York, New Jersey and California.

She said Mr Biden “would want to smoke as soon as he woke up”.
Ms Kestan also testified that she saw him smoking crack in Malibu, California, over several days in September 2018, a month before he bought the gun.

Prosecutors showed the jury images allegedly taken by Ms Kestan showing crack pipes in the rooms she stayed in with Hunter Biden.

Another apparently showed the defendant in a bath with a crack pipe in his hand.

Ms Buhle, who was married to Mr Biden between 1993 and 2017 and has three daughters with him, testified that she first learned of his drug use in 2015 after finding a crack pipe in an ashtray.

She also said he was “not himself” when he used drugs and would become “short tempered”. At the end of their marriage, she testified that “he didn’t want to go to rehab”.

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But when asked by Mr Lowell whether she had seen the defendant use drugs in 2018, she said: “No.”

Earlier in the day, FBI agent Ms Jensen testified about text messages that were found on a laptop left by Mr Biden at a Delaware repair shop and never retrieved.

The day after the gun purchase he texted his then-girlfriend, Hallie Biden – the widow of his late brother, Beau Biden – that he was “sleeping on a car smoking crack on 4th street and Rodney”.

“There’s my truth,” he added in another text.

Mr Biden’s lawyers explained the texts by suggesting that their client had been lying to avoid seeing Hallie Biden.

On Thursday, the jury is expected to hear during the trial how Hallie Biden also became addicted to crack cocaine during her brief relationship with Mr Biden after her husband Beau’s death in 2015.

She took the gun from Hunter Biden and threw it in a grocery store bin 11 days after he bought it, concerned about what he might do with the weapon.

The laptop at the centre of the testimony became a political grenade during the 2020 election campaign as its explicit images of Hunter Biden and messages about his business activities were leaked.

Joe Biden claimed at the time that the data was Russian disinformation, but the laptop has since been confirmed as genuine by the FBI.

The Bidens have denied any wrongdoing in overseas business dealings, which are the focus of an ongoing Republican impeachment investigation.

Hunter Biden also faces a trial in California in September on charges of failing to pay $1.4m in taxes.

BBC

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