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Judge rejects Hunter Biden's effort to delay June 3 trial on gun charges

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika refused a request by Biden’s attorneys to move the trial to September.
Image: Hunter Biden In House Oversight
Hunter Biden faces charges in two separate federal cases.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file

The federal judge overseeing Hunter Biden’s criminal case in Delaware on gun charges said Tuesday that the trial will start next month as planned, rejecting an effort by his attorneys to delay prosecution.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika said at a hearing in Wilmington that the case against the president's son will proceed to trial on June 3. Biden's attorneys had sought to push the proceedings to September.

Biden's lawyer Abbe Lowell also suggested a July start date, citing potential decisions from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and a Supreme Court decision that could affect the case.

Rejecting both proposals, Noreika said that she had consulted case law and determined that she has jurisdiction and that the trial will proceed as planned. She also said it was "not a terribly complicated case."

Noreika plans to call 250 jurors during jury selection, with the goal of identifying 32 to account for potential strikes and then impaneling a jury of 14.

Noreika said she trusted that "everyone can get done what needs to get done” in time for trial.

At one point, she admonished Lowell for not being prepared for trial, emphasizing that both parties jointly submitted a proposed schedule with a June 3 start date and that it “had your signature” on it.

Lowell implored Noreika to change her mind, saying, “I am pleading with your honor” to change the date.

The defense team is looking for expert witnesses on addiction, as well as details about the chain of custody related to an alleged cocaine pouch that prosecutors are expected to use to establish Biden's drug use at the time he bought the gun in October 2018.

Lowell said the defense has had trouble obtaining expert witnesses, adding that most people it has approached are “reluctant to be involved in this case” because of the “noise” surrounding it.

He went on to say the defense had interviewed half a dozen potential expert witnesses over the last two months but had reached tentative agreements with only three people.

Biden was indicted in September on three counts tied to possession of a gun while using narcotics. He has pleaded not guilty.

Lowell declined to comment after the hearing. Special counsel David Weiss — who was in court for Tuesday's hearing — also declined to comment.

The topic of how Biden’s text messages and other electronic data will be used at trial was also discussed during Tuesday’s hearing. There are more than 2,000 messages, some from October 2018, that Biden exchanged with various people — some include messages from Biden to his father, Joe Biden, as well as his children.

Hunter Biden faces a separate trial in California on tax charges stemming from Weiss’ investigation. That trial is scheduled for June 20, though an appeal before the 9th Circuit could delay it until later, in the summer. Biden has pleaded not guilty to those charges, which include allegations that he failed to pay taxes, failed to file, evaded an assessment and filed a fraudulent form.