Hunter Biden’s New Sobriety Defense Lifts the Blackout Dates on Addiction

Below is my column in The Messenger on Hunter Biden’s curious new defense in the federal gun case: he had a moment of sobriety just before he signed his gun form. It appears that the defense is lifting Hunter’s blackout dates on his long addiction defense.

Here is the column:

Hunter Biden returned to court today on the felony indictment for his possession of a handgun, including allegations that he lied on an Oct.12, 2018, form by denying that he was a drug user.  His counsel is expected to continue to insist that the form was accurate because Hunter had ended his addiction to drugs and alcohol.

The problem for the case is that Hunter and his counsel appear to have an elastic calendar on his addiction, depending on its value in a given case or controversy.

The indictment alleges Biden certified on a federally mandated form “that he was not an unlawful user of, and addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, and any other controlled substance, when in fact, as he knew, that statement was false and fictitious.”

However, Biden’s counsel, Abbe Lowell, maintained that “at the time that he purchased this gun, I don’t think there’s evidence that that’s when he was suffering.” Lowell said that Biden had already emerged from rehabilitation when he signed the form.

That is a shift from the previous year during which Hunter’s addiction was used as a final line of defense. At the start of this scandal, many in the media insisted that Hunter was a legitimate businessman who brought his skills and expertise to foreign businesses.

As it became clear that Hunter acquired millions in a raw influence-peddling scheme, many turned to the addiction defense. Hunter released a book, Beautiful Things: A Memoir, that was heralded by many as a brave account of his drug addiction. Reviewers gushed about “an astonishingly candid and brave book about loss, human frailty, wayward souls, and hard-fought redemption.”

I called it the “the 7% solution“: Suddenly, Hunter’s addiction to cocaine and other drugs was the conversation stopper for anyone who did not want to seem insensitive to the struggles of an addict. Gone was the president’s past mantra that “my son did nothing wrong” and, instead, in an 2022 interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, the president declared that Hunter “fought an addiction problem. He overcame it. He wrote about it.”It was all about addiction … until now, apparently, it isn’t any longer.

Even before the latest calendar correction, the addiction defense only heightened the concerns over corrupt influence-peddling. When foreign figures were giving him millions of dollars, Hunter admits that he was a crack addict and alcoholic, writing in his book that “Drinking a quart of vodka a day by yourself in a room is absolutely, completely debilitating” as was “smoking crack around the clock.”

Yet Hunter was not some junkie in Times Square snatching purses to feed his addiction. He was flying around the world, vacuuming up millions and, according to House Republicans, allegedly distributing the money to various Biden family members through a labyrinth of shell companies and accounts. The addiction defense also begged the question: Why would these corrupt figures want an addict on their boards or involved in their businesses?

Nevertheless, the media embraced the troubled-son-of-the-president narrative. The prostitutes, the tax evasion, the gun violations, and other alleged crimes were just the face of the addiction.

Now, however, we are told that Hunter surfaced in sobriety just in time to sign a federal gun form.

The problem is that Hunter’s book discusses how his addiction continued into his father’s presidential campaign and required an intervention by his family. He said that, despite attacks from the Trump campaign and the liability to his father’s campaign, he remained an addict in 2019. (The gun form, remember, was signed in late 2018.)

There is an added problem with moving back the calendar date of his addiction. It would mean that Hunter no longer has the “7% solution” to other problems.

For example, in the summer of 2019, Hunter allegedly continued to receive huge transfers of money from Chinese sources. Notably, House Republicans say, he received two wire transfers totaling $260,000 that listed President Biden’s Delaware home as the beneficiary address for the funds.

Yet, in October 2019, a few months later, Hunter denied the receipt of any such money from China — echoing the repeated denials of his father. When ABC News asked if he received any money from the Chinese deals, Hunter said “no, no.” He was then asked, “Not one cent?” and replied “Not one cent.”

That was a dead-cold sober lie.

Starting today, the Biden campaign undoubtedly will try to thread this needle. It is the criminal defense version of airline blackout dates where you cannot make allegations against Hunter when he was allegedly blacked-out with drugs: While he was still influence-peddling on a global scale, those dates are addiction dates.

However, it turns out that Oct. 12, 2018, was a moment of sobriety — and thus Hunter apparently was telling the truth in denying the use of drugs.

In his book, Hunter wrote that he has never used the tragedies of his life as an excuse for his addiction because “that would be a cop-out.” Indeed, in a change for his counsel and the media alike, sobriety is now Hunter’s final line of defense.

Jonathan Turley, an attorney, constitutional law scholar and legal analyst, is the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School.

160 thoughts on “Hunter Biden’s New Sobriety Defense Lifts the Blackout Dates on Addiction”

  1. I don’t thing this sh*t-head should be sent away for his crimes which as fare as I can tell are all victimless. But, what f***ing gets to me about this degenerate (here I refer to HB, not his old man who is also a degenerate of a more creepy kind) and all the silver-spoon sucking children of Wahington city “Swamp Things” is that poor and working class black, brown and white kids, barely past adolescence, are regularly sent away — sometimes for decades – for “crimes” fare less obvious. And these same silver-spooners prance around the world stage and chant in cultish unison about the global superiority of the American justice system. Its cognitive dissonance of a Grand Canyon scale.

    1. Agreed. Reminds me a bit of a guy I knew, when I was a young buck, who hung out at my local tavern. He incessantly bragged about his 1957 Jag XK-140 SE. It was indeed a thing of beauty but it was horribly uncomfortable and never ran for more than two weeks in a row. It was hell to keep tuned.

  2. If he surfaced just in time for the gun application (and why did he necessarily need a gun), why did his bother’s widow feel the need to get rid of it? IMHO, I think she was very fearful of him and his access to the gun.

  3. ANYBODY who gets caught up in the 100% corrupted legal system in any manner for any reason, needs to ask just one question! It is “Where is my written guarantee that I will be treated fairly in this ordeal?” Fair trials are an impossibility for various reasons, anyone who can think will be able to come up with several of them! WHERE is our obligation to let somebody cheat us out of anything?

  4. Would Trump be on trial if he were not running for president? It seems wrong and unlawful that
    trials can be used as impediments to a political campaign. Someone should launch an investigation.

  5. Sounds like and reminds me of another liar that said “It depends on what the definition of is is.”

  6. The High Frequency / Low Duty Cycle transitions between Hunter’s uses of blackouts (Stoned) & white outs (Stone cold sober) might cause some epileptic seizures among the news media.

  7. I think b4 he said a defense of…that law isn’t even constitutional. And that’s what he would fight about. Which he probably will now. For example several plus years ago I asked a salesman at basspro (liscensed) about that form. He said I’d have to basically smell like alcohol. At the time to be denied. Yet there is no piss test to check for drugs. Whilst the word “currently” means something….even if it’s not on the form…..the ambigous form. What are its timelines? If this prevails against hunter….it means anyone reformed or rehabbed or not….looses their right to self defense?? If he was visibly sober when he bought it . . . And there is no drug test….then how did he lie? Moreover being addicted was an excuse to his other crimes….not a defense. I hope he beats this gun charge. Would it be different if like his dad said all ppl need is a double barrel of their back porch? Just bc in heller scalia in dicta said….reasonable controls….that wasn’t the holding of the case. In any event he said reasonable….the law can’t only apply to the guy who happens to write a book.

    1. Jesus freaking christ. The point of the question is, are you a law abiding person, not are you currently f’ed up. If you are a law abiding person, then you can reasonably be expected to continue so. However, if you’ve already shown you cannot follow the law, then a gun is definitely not the tool for you. If hfb was cold sober for a week before he bought the gun, what are the odds he wouldn’t be a week after he bought it…right, 100%.

    2. If they find him not guilty, they need to turn loose EVERY person currently incarcerated for the same offense.
      In fact, if the “5th circuit said so”, why havent they already been set free???
      The armchair lawyers here make me laugh.

  8. How liberating it must be to be freed from the bondage of archaic concepts like ‘truth!’

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