'Egregious violation': Hunter Biden sues computer repairman who gave laptop data to Trump allies
WASHINGTON – Hunter Biden filed a claim Friday in federal court over a laptop filled with his personal information that was widely distributed, alleging that a computer repairman violated his privacy, took part in a conspiracy and helped others invade his privacy.
The filing from President Joe Biden's son came in response to a $1.5 million lawsuit for alleged defamation that the repairman, John Paul Mac Isaac, filed in Delaware Superior Court against Biden, CNN, Politico and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. The case has been moved to U.S. District Court in Delaware.
The filing marks a significant escalation in Hunter Biden's response to revelations from the laptop, which sparked congressional investigations. Biden’s lawyers have already called for the Justice Department to investigate how personal information from the laptop was released and published.
Biden's filing called Mac Isaac’s conduct "an egregious violation of Mr. Biden’s right to privacy."
Mac Isaac's lawyer, Ronald Poliquin, said he was reviewing Biden's claims and would "respond appropriately in court."
Here's what we know about the laptop so far:
What happened with Hunter Biden's laptop?
Mac Isaac has said Biden dropped off his laptop at his Mac Shop for repairs on April 12, 2019, and an external hard drive the next day, but never returned to pay the $85 fee or pick up the equipment.
After 90 days, Mac Isaac argued Biden abandoned the laptop and he owned it. During the rest of 2019, Mac Isaac acknowledged examining the files and turning the contents over to the FBI and others, including former President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who publicized its contents before the 2020 election.
The files included pictures of Hunter Biden using drugs, without clothes and in intimate relations with other adults.
What is Hunter Biden alleging?
Hunter Biden argued in his claim Friday that under Delaware law he had a year to claim the laptop, rather than 90 days. He also noted Mac Isaac said in media interviews and a book that he began examining files on the laptop “long before 90 days had expired.”
Hunter Biden said he never granted Mac Isaac permission to access, review, copy or disseminate data stored on the laptop.
“Mac Isaac knew or should have known that the data he possessed and shared contained private and confidential information and content, including sensitive and private photographs and video of Mr. Biden, and that Mr. Biden had a reasonable expectation of privacy in this data, and that Mac Isaac’s conduct would expose Mr. Biden’s personal life in an egregious violation of Mr. Biden’s right to privacy,” the filing said.
House GOP has focused investigations on laptop
The House Oversight and Accountability Committee has focused its investigations of President Biden and his family on information from the laptop.
The panel held a hearing last month about Twitter's decision to temporarily suppress news stories about the laptop. This week the chairman, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., released data about payments to Hunter Biden and his business associates that are mentioned in emails from the laptop.
But the latest federal court filing reflects how Hunter Biden's lawyers have begun to fight back.
Abbe Lowell, one of Biden's lawyers, notified U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika he would like to depose Mac Isaac "as soon as feasible." Lowell also plans to depose Giuliani and others who distributed the laptop's contents.
Last month, Hunter Biden’s lawyers sent letters asking the Justice Department and Delaware’s attorney general to investigate who accessed, copied and disseminated information from the laptop.
Lowell said the actions taken with the laptop “more than merit a full investigation and, depending on the resulting facts, may merit prosecution under various statutes.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hunter Biden laptop: Lawsuit alleges computer repairman invaded privacy