Hunter Biden’s lawyers, in new aggressive strategy, target his critics
Abbe Lowell, a recently hired attorney whom Biden hired about a month ago, sent lengthy letters to the Delaware Department of Justice and Attorney General requesting investigations into several key players involved in the dissemination of data from a laptop , which Biden allegedly stopped by at a repair shop in Wilmington, Del.
Bryan M. Sullivan, another attorney now representing Biden, sent a separate notice to Carlson and Fox News, urging them to correct the falsehoods from his recent show or risk a possible defamation lawsuit.
And in another letter, Lowell reached out to the Internal Revenue Service to challenge the nonprofit status of Marco Polo, a group led by conservative activist Garrett M. Ziegler. Lowell provided 36 pages of evidence that the group engaged in political activity in violation of its charitable status.
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Taken together, the actions represent the boldest and most aggressive moves yet by Biden, who has often heeded the advice of those who have urged him not to make public waves. Those close to President Biden and the White House have preferred a more conservative approach, but some around Hunter Biden wanted to be more confident in telling his side of the story and being more direct against his opponents.
“This marks a new approach by Hunter Biden and his team,” said a person familiar with his strategy, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private plans. “He will not sit back and watch as questionable characters continue to violate his rights and media organizations that peddle lies try to defame him.”
The new strategy marks a calculated risk that it’s better to take a more combative stance and take on Biden’s longtime critics, even if that means inviting more coverage of a dark chapter in his life and additional attention to the trove of personal and embarrassing ones Directing material contained on a laptop circulated by its critics.
In the letters relating to his personal information, Biden’s attorneys are urging federal and state law enforcement agencies to investigate anyone who came into possession of the data, some of which may have come from a laptop he allegedly owned in April 2019 in Delaware. They allege that about half a dozen people have broken various laws, including by releasing restricted private information; access to and distribution of stolen property; and false statements to Congress.
“The acts described above merit more than a full investigation and may warrant prosecution under various laws, depending on the facts found,” the letters read. “It is not usual for a private individual and their attorney to seek another person to be investigated, but the actions and motives here call for it.”
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The letters specifically focus on John Paul Mac Isaac, a computer repair shop owner who claims he first received the material from Biden in April 2019. Mac Isaac has written a book and spoken at political events, and Biden’s lawyers are pointing out inconsistencies in his account.
The letters also call for investigations into former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who received and later distributed the Mac Isaac material; Robert Costello, who is Giuliani’s attorney and also received the material; and Stephen K. Bannon, who also had the material and helped break the news about it.
Hunter Biden’s attorneys also name Jack Maxey, who provided the footage to several news outlets, including the Washington Post, as well as Ziegler, who uploaded data to his website, and Yaacov Apelbaum, a former aide to Senator Ron Johnson (R- Wis.) who, according to Mac Isaac, helped create a “forensic image” of the hard drive.
A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment. A message left with the Delaware Attorney General’s office – the office held by Hunter’s brother Beau – was not immediately returned.
Mac Isaac’s attorney, Brian Della Rocca, said Wednesday night he had just received a copy of the materials.
“Having skimmed the letters, all I see is a privileged person hiring another highly paid attorney to divert attention from his own illegal activities,” he said. “No further comments at this time.”
Ted Goodman, a spokesman for Giuliani, said the laptop was duly abandoned after Biden failed to retrieve it, and he questioned why Biden’s attorneys didn’t raise their objection earlier.
“Now, after so many years, raising concerns shows how devastating the texts and videos from Hunter’s laptop really are,” Goodman said, tossing the letters as an attempt to silence Giuliani and distract from information Biden and his could harm family.
Several others mentioned in the letters from Biden’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Because the footage, allegedly from Biden’s laptop, has been circulated among conservative activists and media organizations, it has fueled debate over its authenticity. However, in filing the complaint, Biden’s attorneys appear to concede that some of the data released is his private information, though they say other materials may have been altered later. They don’t state whether he actually turned in a laptop for repair.
“These unlawful actions caused the widespread disclosure, manipulation and exploitation of Mr. Biden’s most personal information,” Lowell writes in some of the letters.
Citing Mac Isaac’s admissions that he checked some of Hunter Biden’s financial information on the laptop, lawyers say he had no authority or permission to do so.
“In order to secure Mr. Biden’s files for repairs, Mr. Mac Isaac did not need to examine the contents of such files,” writes Lowell. “Mr. Biden did not consent to allowing Mr. Mac Isaac access to the contents of these files in April 2019 or at any other time.”
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The letters also reveal that in December, another attorney for Hunter Biden — Chris Clark, a former federal attorney and New York-based partner at Latham & Watkins — submitted a similar criminal referral, focused solely on Mac Isaac, to the US Attorney’s Office sent South District of New York.
The laptop was the subject of intense scrutiny from stories published by the New York Post just before the 2020 election. At the time, the Washington Post repeatedly asked Giuliani and Bannon for a copy of the data for review, but the requests were denied or ignored.
In June 2021, Maxey, who previously worked as a researcher for Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, provided the Washington Post with a portable hard drive that he said contained the data. He said he got it from Giuliani.
The Post hired two security researchers to examine 217 gigabytes of data on the drive, and they found nearly 22,000 emails with cryptographic signatures that could be verified using technology that would be difficult for even the most sophisticated hacker to forge. The vast majority of the data — and most of the nearly 129,000 emails it contained — could not be verified, the security researchers said.
Biden said he wasn’t sure if the laptop was his and he doesn’t remember handing it in, but he acknowledged that his memory wasn’t reliable at the height of his drug addiction. His allies also suggest that later released materials could be a mixture of materials obtained in different ways.
During the same period, Biden also left a laptop with Keith Ablow, a Massachusetts-based psychiatrist who was close to Republican activist Roger Stone. That laptop was seized by agents who searched Ablow’s office in February 2020 and eventually returned to Biden.
Kevin Morris, one of Biden’s friends and associates, oversaw a forensic analysis of this laptop to determine if it was the basis of the hard drives later distributed by Trump allies.
Biden’s attorneys also allege that he was defamed by Fox News in a Carlson-aired story in which he falsely said Biden paid his father $50,000 in “rent,” a scheme he says was designed to get money from his father to lead to the son.
But reality, as deconstructed by The Washington Post Fact Checker, showed that Hunter Biden was actually paying $49,910 for Washington office space every three months.
A few other outlets, including the Daily Caller, later updated and retracted their stories.
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“We request that you withdraw these statements immediately by devoting substantial airtime to such a retraction,” Sullivan wrote in the letter to Carlson and a Fox News attorney.
He demanded apologies from Carlson and other commentators – including Fox’s Sean Hannity – who made similar claims, and asked Fox News to respond in writing by Thursday.
“Should we not receive this written confirmation, we will assume that you both have no interest in acting responsibly and professionally and are willing to reverse his actual report of malicious intent,” Sullivan wrote.
Citing possible litigation, Sullivan also requested that Fox News retain all communications and documents related to the story.