Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, was a habitual crack cocaine user when he illegally purchased a gun in 2018, his criminal trial has revealed.

The trial, which saw US First Lady Jill Biden in attendance, marks the first time a sitting president's son has faced such legal proceedings.

Biden is accused of lying on a federal form to buy a revolver and ammunition from a Wilmington, Delaware, gun shop on October 12, 2018. The prosecution claims he falsely stated on the application that he was not a user of illicit drugs, despite his addiction issues at the time. If convicted on all three federal counts, he could face up to 25 years in prison.

The charges include lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false statement on the application, and illegally possessing the gun for 11 days. Prosecutor Derek Hines emphasized that "no-one is above the law," asserting that Biden "crossed the line" by purchasing the firearm and allegedly lying on the background check.

The trial also delved into the relationship between Hunter Biden and Hallie Biden, the widow of the president's late son, Beau Biden. Hallie reportedly became addicted to crack cocaine during her brief relationship with Hunter. She took the gun from him and discarded it in a grocery store bin 11 days after the purchase, fearing what he might do with it.

The defense, led by lawyer Abbe Lowell, argued that Biden was in recovery at the time and was truthful when he stated he was not a drug user on the application. Lowell contended that the purchase was an impulsive decision influenced by a pushy gun store owner and that Biden did not consider himself an addict after undergoing rehab in California.

The defense also pointed out that the federal application form only inquires if the buyer is a current drug user, not if they have ever used drugs. They maintained that Biden was not using drugs when he bought the gun.

Hunter Biden, a Yale-educated lawyer, followed the proceedings closely, often consulting with his defense team and looking at the jury. The first lady, seated directly behind him, appeared emotional, as did Hunter's half-sister, Ashley Biden, particularly during recordings of Hunter discussing his addiction, taken from his memoir "Beautiful Things."

Hunter's wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, was also present and reportedly had a heated exchange with Garrett Ziegler, a former Trump aide, outside the courtroom. Ziegler has circulated compromising information from a laptop once owned by Hunter Biden, leading to a lawsuit from Biden.

Hunter Biden faces additional legal challenges, including a trial in California in September on charges of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes. The current case continues to unfold, with both sides presenting their arguments about Biden's state of mind and actions during the gun purchase. Photo by Center for Strategic & International Studie, Wikimedia commons.