Hunter Biden: a timeline of controversies and legal battles

Hunter Biden, the son of U.S. President Joe Biden, has faced a series of controversies and legal battles that have thrust him into the public eye. On Tuesday, Hunter Biden was convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018. 

Prosecutors argued that he lied on a mandatory gun purchase form by stating he was not illegally using or addicted to drugs. This conviction marks the first time a child of a sitting U.S. president has been convicted of a federal crime.

RELATED: Biden reacts to son Hunter's guilty verdict in gun trial

Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison when U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika sentences him. First-time offenders typically do not receive the maximum sentence, and it remains unclear whether he will serve time behind bars. The judge has not yet set a sentencing date. 

This recent verdict is the latest chapter in a long saga of personal and public controversies that have marked Hunter Biden's life.

December 1972: Early life marked by tragedy

Hunter Biden's early life was marred by tragedy. In December 1972, a truck collided with the family car, killing his mother and baby sister and leaving Hunter and his older brother Beau injured. 

The accident occurred less than six weeks after Joe Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate. Hunter, then just two years old, sustained a fractured skull, while Beau had a broken leg. Joe Biden took his oath of office by his sons' hospital bedside.

Despite the early tragedy, Hunter attended Georgetown University for his undergraduate studies and later graduated from Yale Law School in 1996. His academic journey was interspersed with efforts to find stability amid personal turmoil.

2013: Struggles with addiction

Hunter has battled addiction for much of his life and those struggles have been well known among the public. His struggles with substance abuse continued through his adult years, leading to multiple stints in rehab. In 2013, he was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine on his first day. 

His addiction worsened following the death of his brother Beau in 2015 following a battle with brain cancer, which led to excessive drinking and drug use. Hunter's drug use became so severe that his ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, eventually testified against him in the 2024 case, stating that she frequently found crack cocaine in his car and around their home, especially after Beau's death​.

2016: Legal challenges and political scrutiny

Hunter Biden's business dealings and legal issues have been scrutinized recently. He faces separate tax charges, with prosecutors alleging he failed to pay at least $1.4 million in federal taxes from 2016 to 2019. 

Congressional Republicans have investigated Hunter's business dealings, particularly his work with Ukrainian energy company Burisma and a Chinese private equity firm​​. These investigations have led to allegations of influence-peddling, though no concrete evidence has been found to support these claims.

2017: Controversial relationships

Hunter's personal life has also been tumultuous. He was married to Buhle for over two decades, and they had three children together. Their marriage ended in 2017 amid accusations of infidelity and continued drug abuse.

In a controversial move, Hunter began a relationship with his brother Beau's widow, Hallie Biden. This relationship, which started in 2017, drew significant public attention and mixed reactions from both the public and within the Biden family.​

2018: Fathering a child and new marriage

In 2018, Hunter fathered a child with Lunden Alexis Roberts, an exotic dancer from Arkansas. Initially, Hunter denied paternity, but a DNA test confirmed he was the father, leading to a paternity suit settlement in 2020​. Amid these personal struggles, Hunter married South African filmmaker Melissa Cohen in 2019 after a whirlwind six-day romance. They have a son named Beau, born in 2020​​.

2018: Illegal gun possession

Hunter's legal troubles escalated with his recent conviction for illegal possession of a gun. In October 2018, Hunter purchased a handgun, lying on the federal background check form by denying his drug use. 

RELATED: Hunter Biden found guilty in gun trial

His attorneys argued that Hunter did not consider himself an addict at the time of the purchase, as he had recently completed a rehab stint. However, prosecutors presented evidence of his ongoing drug use during that period. This conviction could result in a significant prison term, adding to his already complex legal battles.​ 

Ongoing support from the president

Despite the challenges, President Biden has expressed unwavering support for his son, though he has ruled out a pardon if Hunter is convicted. The president and his aides remain concerned about the impact these legal battles could have on the family and his political career.

Following Hunter Biden's conviction, President Biden stated he was "proud" of his son. "As I said last week, I am the President, but I am also a Dad. Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today," Biden said in a statement. "So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery. As I also said last week, I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal," he continued.

He added: "Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that."

Later on Tuesday, Hunter Biden released a statement expressing his gratitude for the support he received from his family and friends, despite his disappointment with the conviction. "I am more grateful today for the love and support I experienced this last week from Melissa, my family, my friends, and my community than I am disappointed by the outcome," he said. "Recovery is possible by the grace of God, and I am blessed to experience that gift one day at a time," he added.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.