Hunter Biden and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, arrive in federal...

Hunter Biden and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, arrive in federal court Tuesday, in Wilmington, Delaware. Credit: AP/Matt Rourke

Less than two weeks after Donald Trump became the first ex-president convicted of felonies, Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, was found guilty Tuesday in a very different type of case. The two trials and their significance and symbolism will inevitably be debated in an electoral context as the back-to-back presidents face off for a rematch in November. As a result, much of the public will naturally view this as an ugly political moment for the republic.

But the good news emerging from these unrelated cases is the same: The justice system functioned as it should. Importantly, both verdicts resulted from fair and carefully considered jury trials — which in the end defied all the yelping from the sidelines about partisan “weaponization” of prosecutions and courts.

Both the senior Trump and the junior Biden have the right to appeal and are expected to vigorously pursue that option. Neither outcome is assured until higher courts weigh in and study what led up to both verdicts as the process plays out.

Both defendants had the opportunity to make their arguments and present evidence transparently in open court. For Biden, that meant trying to contest the allegation that he lied on a mandatory gun-purchase form by saying he was not illegally using or addicted to drugs. Essentially, Biden’s lawyers argued that he did not consider himself an “addict” when he bought the gun, later recovered in a trash can. They said he was well into the process of trying to clean himself up at the time. That failed to win over the Delaware jury, which deliberated for a total of three hours over two days.

In New York, Trump jurors rejected his team’s efforts to convince them that prosecution witnesses lied in their testimony related to “hush money” paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels. Jury deliberations lasted a total of nine hours in that case.

That these politically charged cases were by all honest accounts handled properly is reassuring — most importantly, for the state of our courts in general, but also for the credibility of other prosecutions faced by the same famous defendants. Hunter Biden faces a trial in September in California on nine federal charges of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes, brought by the same special counsel, David Weiss. U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi earlier rejected Hunter Biden's bids to toss out the charges.

For Trump, two trials ahead involve attempts in Washington and in Georgia to retroactively rig his loss of the 2020 election. In Florida, he’s accused of hoarding classified documents and allegedly concealing sensitive files from the federal government.

Today, there is renewed reason to hope that all those other prosecutions ahead will play out fairly and without favor. Let the nonpartisan wheels of justice roll onward.

MEMBERS OF THE EDITORIAL BOARD are experienced journalists who offer reasoned opinions, based on facts, to encourage informed debate about the issues facing our community.


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