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Hunter Biden's ex-wife and ex-girlfriend testify

Today is day three of the Hunter Biden gun trial and once again Jill Biden arrived at the court house this morning. She will once again sit in the front row along with Hunter Biden's wife and other friends and supporters.

Yesterday we got through opening statements and had our first witness, FBI Agent Erica Jensen who testified about text messages in which Hunter talked about buying crack prior to his purchase of the gun. The day ended with the start of defense attorney Abbe Lowell's cross examination of Agent Jensen. Today, the case picked with Lowell resuming his cross.

In cross examination of the FBI agent who introduced several chapters of Hunter Biden’s memoir, defense attorney Abbe Lowell highlighted that the book doesn’t discuss specific drug use at the time of the gun purchase.   

“We used the items that were evidence of addiction,” FBI agent Erika Jensen said in response to Lowell’s questions over the book.  

Jensen did not point to any specific part of the book when Lowell asked if it contained any detailed description of drug use in the fall of 2018, when Biden purchased the firearm.

As I pointed out yesterday, the defense argument is that Hunter was a drug addict before buying the gun and also after buying it but they are trying to argue he was not an active addict at the time he bought the gun. Under this theory, he didn't really lie on the ATF form because he didn't consider himself an addict at the time.

Unfortunately for Hunter there are two text messages he sent to Hallie Biden (his brother's widow) around this time which seem to indicate he was still a drug addict. Abbe Lowell argued that those messages might not have been accurate.

One of those texts referred to waiting for a dealer named Mookie outside the Wilmington Blue Rocks stadium, said Lowell, who then asked Jensen if she knew if Mookie existed. She said she didn't.

Another text from Hunter to Hallie referenced smoking crack while sleeping in a car in Wilmington, Lowell said. He asked Jensen if she knew if Hunter was really sleeping on a car on that day. Jensen replied again said she didn't. 

Why would Hunter lie about his own drug use in text messages to his girlfriend? That's a mystery. This is sort of like making the claim that someone lied to their own diary. Speaking of which, Abbe Lowell also tried to leave room for the idea that Hunter's laptop, where all of the photos of him using drugs were stored, might have been tampered with.

Before he wrapped up, Abbe Lowell directly asked FBI agent Jensen about any evidence that the laptop data had been tampered with.

“Did you find out whether any of the files had been tampered with?” he asked.

“I did not,” she said.

On redirect, Agent Jensen said she's seen no evidence it was tampered with.

The big drama today comes in the form of Hunter's ex-wife and ex-girlfriend both of whom were called to testify about Hunter's drug use. This is apparently too much for one CNN legal analyst to take.

"It's a shame we're here and I say that not from an opinion perspective, but as a practitioner's perspective. In going to state and going to federal court, as I do, prosecutors generally do the right thing. What's the right thing? Equitable outcomes," Jackson said on CNN.

"We know last year (he) was subject to a diversion program, which means you stay out of trouble. We're all good, you know, get your life together, move forward. Instead, we have this embarrassing trial where all his family and past exes are coming in to testify."

He may think this isn't coming from an opinion perspective but what he's saying lines up perfectly with the no harm, no foul argument introduced yesterday by the defense. Still, I'm not exactly shocked that CNN has a legal analyst whose take boils down to 'leave Hunter alone!'

In any case, Hunter's ex-wife Kathleen Buhle did eventually take the stand and testified that while she never saw him do drugs she became aware he was doing drugs when she found a crack pipe in their house in 2015.

Even after they separated and got divorced, Buhle would search Hunter's car for drug paraphernalia any time she knew their three children might be in the car. This included multiple searches in 2018. A text message from the time confirms that she found "a few crack pipes."

Buhle also testified that during couples therapy they discussed his drug problem and he admitted to having an addiction. The defense pressed Buhle on exactly when she found the paraphernalia in the car and she said she didn't know. They are pushing the idea that it might not have been in 2018 around the time he bought the gun.

Next up on the stand was Zoe Kestan, Biden's former girlfriend. She testified to meeting him at a club in December 2017. He asked her back to his hotel room. She declined that night but a week later got another invite to join a female friend at his hotel. The spent the day there and she wound up staying with Hunter in the hotel for five straight days. During this time she saw him smoking crack every 20 minutes.

Hunter was smoking crack “every 20 minutes or so” throughout the week, she testified, adding that they were so “focused on each other” that he was maybe smoking less than usual during that time.

Hunter called her a “distraction” from crack, she said.

Kestan also testified that she helped Hunter buy drugs and helped him take out cash to buy drugs. She said he let drug dealers take money out of his account in the same way.

Kestan was reportedly a hit with the jury.

At the start of the trial proceedings Wednesday, the jury struggled to remain attentive while an FBI agent was asked meandering questions about mundane bank records and ATM withdrawals. At times, one of the male jurors was starting to close his eyes...

Kestan proved to be a much more captivating witness for the jury. Her delivery was much more animated, and she volunteered interesting details in her answers, like which restaurants they dined at in New York City and which fancy hotels they stayed at in Los Angeles. It seemed like some of the jurors were hanging on every word she said.

That's bad news for the defense because Kestan is driving a truck through the argument that Hunter was on the straight and narrow in 2018 when he bought the gun. In fact, she saw him smoking crack just weeks before he purchased a gun on Oct. 12, 2018.

Next up was the gun store employee who sold Hunter the gun.

Gordon Cleveland, who sold Hunter Biden the firearm, testified that he watched Biden fill out the ATF form for gun purchases and watched him fill out the drug-related question at the heart of this case.

Cleveland said he saw Biden fill out the entire form and he saw him answer "no" to the question about drug use. The form reads, "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?"

Biden paid for the gun and some hollow-point bullets in cash. And that's most of what happened today. I'll include any late developments today in tomorrow's recap.

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