Jurors resumed deliberations in the criminal case against Hunter Biden over a gun US President Joe Biden’s son bought in 2018 when prosecutors say he was in the throes of a crack cocaine addiction.

The jurors had deliberated for less than an hour on Monday afternoon before leaving the federal courthouse in Delaware.

They are weighing up whether Hunter Biden is guilty of three felonies in the case pitting him against his father’s Justice Department in the middle of the Democratic president’s re-election campaign.

Hunter Biden arrives at federal court with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden
Hunter Biden arrives at federal court with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden (Matt Slocum/AP)

Prosecutors spent last week using evidence from Hunter Biden’s ex-wife and former girlfriends, photos of him with drug paraphernalia and other tawdry evidence to make the case that he lied when he checked “no” on the form at the gun shop that asked whether he was “an unlawful user of, or addicted to” drugs.

“He knew he was using drugs. That’s what the evidence shows. And he knew he was addicted to drugs. That’s what the evidence shows,” prosecutor Leo Wise told jurors in his closing argument on Monday.

Hunter Biden’s substance abuse struggles after the 2015 death of his brother, Beau, are well documented.

But the defence has argued that he did not consider himself an “addict” when he bought the gun.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers have sought to show he was trying to turn his life around at the time, having completed a rehabilitation program at the end of August 2018.

The defence called three witnesses, including his daughter Naomi, who told jurors that he seemed be improving in the weeks before he bought the gun.

And the defence told jurors that no one witnessed Hunter Biden using drugs during the 11 days he had the gun before Beau’s widow, Hallie, found it in Hunter’s truck and threw it in a trash can.

Defence lawyer Abbe Lowell suggested that prosecutors were presenting circumstantial evidence like a magician might present a card trick, trying to get jurors to focus on one hand and ignore the other.

Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden, right, departs from federal court (Matt Slocum/AP)

“With my last breath in this case, I ask for the only verdict that will hold the prosecutors to what the law requires of them” — a verdict of not guilty, Mr Lowell said in his final pitch to jurors.

But prosecutors have shown jurors text messages sent in the days after the gun purchase in which Hunter Biden told Hallie he was waiting for a dealer and smoking crack.

Hallie and Hunter briefly dated after Beau’s death.

Prosecutors have also said they found cocaine residue on the pouch in which Hallie put the gun before tossing it in a trash can outside an upscale grocery store.

First lady Jill Biden, the president’s brother James and other family members watched from the first row of the courtroom as the defence rested its case on Monday without calling Hunter Biden to the witness stand.

Before the case went to the jury, the prosecutor urged jurors to focus on the “overwhelming” evidence against Hunter Biden and pay no mind to members of the president’s family sitting in the courtroom.

Hunter Biden had hoped last year to resolve a long-running federal investigation into his business dealings under a deal with prosecutors that would have avoided the spectacle of a trial so close to the 2024 election.

Under the deal, he would have pleaded guilty to misdemeanour tax offenses in California and avoided prosecution in the gun case in Delaware if he stayed out of trouble for two years.

But the deal fell apart after US District Judge Maryellen Noreika, who was nominated by Trump, questioned unusual aspects of the proposed agreement, and the lawyers could not resolve the matter.

Hunter Biden has said he was charged because the Justice Department bowed to pressure from Republicans who argued the Democratic president’s son was getting special treatment.

Under that deal, prosecutors would have recommended two years of probation.

In the gun case, the three counts carry up to 25 years in prison, though the sentence would ultimately be up to the judge and it’s unclear whether she would put Hunter Biden behind bars if he is convicted.