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Hunter Biden's impending gun trial could last up to 2 weeks amid sharp disagreements over evidence

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Hunter Biden's impending gun trial could last up to 2 weeks amid sharp disagreements over evidence
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Hunter Biden's impending gun trial could last up to 2 weeks amid sharp disagreements over evidence

2024-05-25 05:07 Last Updated At:05:10

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — The judge overseeing Hunter Biden ’s federal firearms charges trial agreed Friday to block prosecutors from telling jurors about some other unflattering episodes from his personal life, but left the door open to allowing them in if the president’s son testifies.

It's unclear whether the president's son would take the stand during the trial that could last up to two weeks during his father’s reelection campaign and likely include sharp disagreements over evidence.

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Attorney Abbe Lowell arrives for a court appearance by Hunter Biden, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — The judge overseeing Hunter Biden ’s federal firearms charges trial agreed Friday to block prosecutors from telling jurors about some other unflattering episodes from his personal life, but left the door open to allowing them in if the president’s son testifies.

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

FILE - Hunter Biden arrives for a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 28, 2024. Biden attorneys are expected in court Friday, May 24, days before the president's son is expected to stand trial on federal firearms charges in Delaware as his father's reelection campaign unfolds. Biden is charged with lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun that he kept for about 11 days in Delaware. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE - Hunter Biden arrives for a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 28, 2024. Biden attorneys are expected in court Friday, May 24, days before the president's son is expected to stand trial on federal firearms charges in Delaware as his father's reelection campaign unfolds. Biden is charged with lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun that he kept for about 11 days in Delaware. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

President Joe Biden's son is charged with lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun that he kept for about 11 days in Delaware. A trial is set to begin June 3 and could last up to two weeks as his father's re-election campaign unfolds.

Hunter Biden has acknowledged an addiction to crack cocaine during that period, but his lawyers have said he didn’t break the law and the case is politically motivated. He didn’t speak to reporters as he accompanied his lawyers to and from the Wilmington courthouse for a hearing on Friday.

Prosecutors won a victory on a key point as U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika found that they wouldn’t have to prove that he specifically used drugs on the day of the purchase.

She agreed to a defense push to keep out other details about his past, including a child-support case in Arkansas and his dismissal from the Navy after a positive drug test. If he does take the stand, however, "there’s a number of issues that may become more contentious,” Noreika said. Prosecutors have acknowledged those episodes likely won't be relevant unless he testifies.

She also agreed to consider defense questions about the contents of a laptop that he allegedly dropped off at a Delaware repair shop.

Hunter Biden's attorneys want to raise questions about the authenticity of the laptop's data at trial. Prosecutors say that there's no evidence it has been compromised and that a drawn-out fight would be a waste of time. The laptop has been the source of controversy for years after Republicans accessed and disseminated personal data from it.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika said she will consider objections to specific pieces of data as the trial unfolds.

Prosecutors also plan to show jurors portions of his 2021 memoir “Beautiful Things,” in which he detailed his struggle with alcoholism and drug abuse following the 2015 death of his older brother, Beau, of brain cancer at age 46.

Defense attorneys argued prosecutors were cherry-picking evidence, and the judge agreed to allow Biden’s attorneys to introduce wider selections.

His attorney Abbe Lowell also says there are indications that the gun-purchase form was changed by employees after the sale. Prosecutors say there were only minor additions unrelated to the parts Hunter Biden filled out.

Noreika didn't immediately rule on whether the defense could introduce an altered version of the form at trial, which is expected to begin with jury selection on June 3.

Hunter Biden is also facing federal tax charges in Los Angeles and is set for trial in that case in September. He’s accused of failing to pay at least $1.4 million in taxes over four years while living an “extravagant lifestyle” during a period in which he has acknowledged struggling with addiction. The back taxes have since been paid.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers have pushed unsuccessfully in both cases to have them dismissed. They have argued, among other things, that prosecutors bowed to political pressure to indict him after a plea agreement hit the skids in court and was publicly pilloried by Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, as a “sweetheart deal.”

Trump, who is running to unseat the Democratic president, faces his own legal problems. He is charged in four criminal cases, including a hush money trial underway in New York.

The long-running federal investigation into the president’s son had looked ready to wrap up with a plea deal last year, but the agreement imploded after a judge raised questions about it. Hunter Biden was subsequently indicted.

Under the deal, he would have gotten two years of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges. He also would have avoided prosecution on the gun charge if he stayed out of trouble.

Whitehurst reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Alanna Durkin Richer in Washington contributed.

Follow the AP’s coverage of Hunter Biden at https://apnews.com/hub/hunter-biden.

Attorney Abbe Lowell arrives for a court appearance by Hunter Biden, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Attorney Abbe Lowell arrives for a court appearance by Hunter Biden, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

FILE - Hunter Biden arrives for a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 28, 2024. Biden attorneys are expected in court Friday, May 24, days before the president's son is expected to stand trial on federal firearms charges in Delaware as his father's reelection campaign unfolds. Biden is charged with lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun that he kept for about 11 days in Delaware. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE - Hunter Biden arrives for a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 28, 2024. Biden attorneys are expected in court Friday, May 24, days before the president's son is expected to stand trial on federal firearms charges in Delaware as his father's reelection campaign unfolds. Biden is charged with lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun that he kept for about 11 days in Delaware. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

PARIS (AP) — French anti-terror police have detained an alleged neo-Nazi sympathizer suspected of wanting to target the Olympic torch relay, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Wednesday.

The Paris prosecutor's office said the man was detained Wednesday morning at his home in the Alsace region of eastern France. It said he runs a group titled “French Aryan division” on the social media channel Telegram, and was detained for questioning about death threats, hate speech and other postings he allegedly made.

The prosecutor's office said his alleged comments that triggered the probe by its unit dedicated to fighting online hate didn't specifically target the Paris Olympics, which kick off with a high-security opening ceremony on July 26.

Darmanin, however, said: “There was a willingness to intervene during a stage, evidently, of the torch relay."

The Olympic torch is nearing the end of its months-long trip around France and overseas French territories before the Games' opening.

Darmanin, who is staying on in a caretaker role at the interior ministry until a new government is formed in the wake of legislative elections earlier this month, said the suspect has previously been flagged by police “for ultra-right ideas, which can be termed neo-Nazi."

“We know that he had, a priori, a desire to hit political targets or people with immigrant backgrounds,” he said.

The prosecutor's office said that as well as alleged death threats and posts inciting hate, the suspect is also being investigated on suspicion of having shared personal information that put people at risk and of sharing bomb-making instructions.

The French capital's security operation for its first Olympic Games in a century involves up to 45,000 police and gendarmes, plus a 10,000-strong military force that is patrolling streets and sites in the Paris region and carrying out other security missions.

French Interior Gerald Darmanin, left, flanked by Paris police prefect Laurent Nunez, speaks during a meeting regarding the activation of the anti-terrorist perimeter (SILT) starting Thursday July 18, 2024, Wednesday July 17, 2024 in Paris, ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (Julien de Rosa, Pool via AP)

French Interior Gerald Darmanin, left, flanked by Paris police prefect Laurent Nunez, speaks during a meeting regarding the activation of the anti-terrorist perimeter (SILT) starting Thursday July 18, 2024, Wednesday July 17, 2024 in Paris, ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (Julien de Rosa, Pool via AP)

French Interior Gerald Darmanin, center left, flanked by Paris police prefect Laurent Nunez, center right, speaks during a meeting regarding the activation of the anti-terrorist perimeter (SILT) starting Thursday July 18, 2024, Wednesday July 17, 2024 in Paris, ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (Julien de Rosa, Pool via AP)

French Interior Gerald Darmanin, center left, flanked by Paris police prefect Laurent Nunez, center right, speaks during a meeting regarding the activation of the anti-terrorist perimeter (SILT) starting Thursday July 18, 2024, Wednesday July 17, 2024 in Paris, ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (Julien de Rosa, Pool via AP)

A woman pulls her luggage by Paris 2024 Olympic banners, just nine days before the start of the Paris Olympic games, Wednesday, July 17, 2024 in Paris. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

A woman pulls her luggage by Paris 2024 Olympic banners, just nine days before the start of the Paris Olympic games, Wednesday, July 17, 2024 in Paris. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

A soldier patrols on a footbridge over the Seine river, Wednesday, July 17, 2024 in Paris. France's armed forces held a demonstration of the security measures planned on the River Seine, both in and out of the water, to make it safe for athletes and spectators during the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics. Organizers have planned a parade of about 10,000 athletes through the heart of the French capital on boats on the Seine along a 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) route at sunset on July 26. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

A soldier patrols on a footbridge over the Seine river, Wednesday, July 17, 2024 in Paris. France's armed forces held a demonstration of the security measures planned on the River Seine, both in and out of the water, to make it safe for athletes and spectators during the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics. Organizers have planned a parade of about 10,000 athletes through the heart of the French capital on boats on the Seine along a 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) route at sunset on July 26. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

A soldier and police officers patrol by Paris 2024 Olympic banners, just nine days before the start of the Paris Olympic games, Wednesday, July 17, 2024 in Paris. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

A soldier and police officers patrol by Paris 2024 Olympic banners, just nine days before the start of the Paris Olympic games, Wednesday, July 17, 2024 in Paris. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

Soldiers patrol on a footbridge over the Seine river, Wednesday, July 17, 2024 in Paris. France's armed forces held a demonstration of the security measures planned on the River Seine, both in and out of the water, to make it safe for athletes and spectators during the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics. Organizers have planned a parade of about 10,000 athletes through the heart of the French capital on boats on the Seine along a 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) route at sunset on July 26. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

Soldiers patrol on a footbridge over the Seine river, Wednesday, July 17, 2024 in Paris. France's armed forces held a demonstration of the security measures planned on the River Seine, both in and out of the water, to make it safe for athletes and spectators during the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics. Organizers have planned a parade of about 10,000 athletes through the heart of the French capital on boats on the Seine along a 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) route at sunset on July 26. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

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