Special counsel plans to use infamous Hunter Biden laptop as evidence at gun trial

Special counsel David Weiss plans to introduce Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop as evidence against him at his upcoming trial on felony gun charges.

Weiss made his intentions clear in a court filing Wednesday that also blasted Hunter Biden’s lawyers for questioning the laptop’s authenticity, which he called a “conspiracy theory.”

The laptop is at the center of a yearslong legal and political saga, dating to the 2020 election. Republican officials and right-wing outlets have seized on the laptop’s embarrassing emails and images to attack Biden, the son of President Joe Biden. Hunter Biden’s lawyers have said the files were manipulated, and even sued a computer repair shop owner who publicly released the material.

“The defendant’s laptop is real (it will be introduced as a trial exhibit) and it contains significant evidence of the defendant’s guilt,” prosecutors wrote in a Wednesday filing.

Weiss plans to use the laptop to back up his narrow claim that Biden was addicted to illegal drugs when he bought a gun in 2018, allegedly in violation of federal law. Weiss has not addressed the unproven allegation from Republicans that emails on the laptop prove that Biden and his father were involved in corrupt foreign deals.

Biden has pleaded not guilty to three gun crimes. The trial is set to begin June 3 at the federal court in Delaware.

In their own court filings earlier this week, Hunter Biden’s lawyers said they want to contest the authenticity of the materials from the laptop if Weiss brings it up at trial.

“Defense counsel has numerous reasons to believe the data had been altered and compromised before investigators obtained the electronic material,” his lawyers wrote.

Biden dropped off the laptop at a Delaware repair shop in April 2019. His lawyers said in the filing that the shop owner admitted in his memoir that he “began accessing sensitive, private material in the data” right away, and continued to potentially tamper with the data throughout the five months before the FBI seized the device.

Prosecutors counter by saying that some of the people who exchanged these messages with Biden will testify and assert that the messages are real. They also say the laptop materials are only a fraction of the digital evidence they have collected against Biden, including messages subpoenaed directly from Apple.

“He has not shown any of the actual evidence in this case is unreliable or inauthentic, because there is none,” Weiss’ team wrote in a Wednesday filing. “Instead, the defendant’s theory about the laptop is a conspiracy theory with no supporting evidence.”

Prosecutors said the laptop materials at issue are “extractions by an FBI forensic specialist which were extracted after a technical examination of the laptop in 2019” – and not the files that were publicly released by the repair-shop owner or obtained by news outlets “after who-knows-what was added.”

Since 2020, a deluge of material from the laptop has been published in Donald Trump-friendly media outlets, including sexually explicit videos of Biden with women, as well as photos of him doing drugs in hotel rooms. These outlets have also published emails, financial records and other documents from the laptop about lucrative overseas business dealings China, Ukraine and elsewhere.

Prosecutors say Biden should take the stand in objecting to outside addiction experts

On Wednesday, prosecutors also asked the judge overseeing the gun case to reject several expert witnesses the president’s son intends to call at trial, including a clinical researcher focused on addiction treatment.

Biden’s mental state is a key issue in the case, which includes allegations that he knowingly made false statements while purchasing a firearm as a user of illegal drugs.

His attorneys have not indicated whether he will testify in his own defense.

The testimony, prosecutors say, is “an attempt to substitute the testimony of an expert for the testimony of” the defendant.

While defense attorneys want the doctor to testify on addiction disorders and how individuals understand their own addiction, prosecutors say the testimony should not be allowed, in part, because it would go into the expert’s opinion about the mental state of Hunter Biden at the time of the alleged crime, which they say is not allowed in a criminal trial.

“If the defendants (wants) the jury to know what he thought about his own addiction or drug use, he has to take the stand and testify or introduce other admissible evidence that reflects his state of mind at the time,” prosecutors wrote. “He cannot hire an expert to do it for him.”

Prosecutors also don’t want defense attorneys to be allowed to call a forensic toxicologist, who could be used to undercut evidence regarding the alleged cocaine residue found on Biden’s gun pouch, as well as an expert on handwritten signatures.

Federal Judge Maryellen Noreika, who is presiding over the case, hasn’t said when she’ll rule on these pretrial motions about expert witnesses and how the laptop can be discussed in front of the jury.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com