With all of the crazy legal news going on, I’m guessing that you have 99 problems and that Hunter Biden’s laptop isn’t one of them. Fortunately for you, I am following the laptop saga so that you don’t have to – you’re welcome. My Note this week concerns the latest lawsuit filed by Hunter Biden against the individuals who have come into possession of the purported contents of his laptop, including Rudy Giuliani (talk about having 99 problems). Hunter’s aggressive legal strategy is important, as it can help bring some clarity to issues surrounding social media policy, intelligence, and politics that have been purposefully muddied over the last few years.
The Hunter Biden laptop scandal has its origins in a computer repair shop in Delaware in 2019, where a blind computer repairman named John Paul Mac Isaacs claimed that he was in possession of a laptop left by Hunter Biden that was never picked up. Isaacs accessed the contents of the laptop, alleging that under company policy it was “his” after 90 days, and thereafter passed along the contents of its hard drive to, among others, Rudy Giuliani. From there, the contents got passed along to other individuals like a game of telephone and surfaced in a New York Post article about a month before the 2020 election. (You can read more about the substance of the alleged “smoking gun” allegations contained on the laptop in a Substack piece I wrote where I went down the whole rabbit hole – it was a pretty deep one and I fortunately made it back out.) The laptop and its purported contents have since taken on a life of their own, forming the basis for various sub-scandals, including the current impeachment efforts against President Joe Biden.
After a long period of silence, Hunter began pushing back on the campaign against him through a series of lawsuits, including litigation against Mac Isaacs, former White House aide Garrett Ziegler, and now Giuiliani and several others. Importantly, Hunter does not concede that the abandoned laptop was his, nor does he contest that some of the communications that have been made public are authentic. Rather, he claims in his lawsuits that his personal and financial information were illegally accessed by these defendants and others in violation of state and federal computer hacking laws. Effectively, Hunter argues that in obtaining, manipulating, copying and disseminating his personal data, these defendants have violated his privacy rights.