WASHINGTON (AP) — An attorney for Hunter, the son of President Joe Biden, asked the Justice Department in a letter Wednesday to investigate close allies of former President Donald Trump and others who accessed and distributed personal data from a laptop, says a computer repair shop owner. was dropped off at his store in Delaware in 2019.
In a separate letter, Hunter Biden’s lawyers also asked Fox News host Tucker Carlson to retract and apologize for what they say are false and defamatory claims repeatedly made about him on-air, including implying without evidence that he had unauthorized access to secret documents found at his father’s house.
The request for a criminal investigation, which comes as Hunter Biden faces his own Justice Department tax evasion investigation, does not mean that federal prosecutors will open an investigation or take any other action. But it nevertheless represents a concerted shift in strategy and a rare public response by the younger Biden and his legal team to years of attacks by Republican officials. and conservative media, the investigation is expected to continue now that the GOP has taken over the House.
It also represents the latest salvo in the long-running laptop saga, which began with a story in the New York Post in October 2020 detailing some of the emails allegedly found on the device related to Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. It was quickly seized upon by Trump as a campaign issue during that year’s presidential election.
The letter, signed by leading Washington attorney Abbe Lowell, calls for an investigation into former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, Trump longtime attorney Rudy Giuliani, Giuliani’s own attorney and the Wilmington computer repair shop owner, among others, John Paul Mac Isaac, who has said Hunter Biden dropped off a laptop at his shop in April 2019 and never returned to pick it up.
The letter quotes passages from Mac Isaac’s book in which he admitted to viewing private and sensitive material from Biden’s laptop, including a file titled “income.pdf.” It notes that Mac Isaac sent a copy of the laptop data to Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, who in turn shared it with Giuliani, a close Trump ally who propagated discredited theories about the younger Biden at the time.
Giuliani provided the information to a New York Post reporter, who first wrote about the laptop, and also to Bannon, the letter said. Hunter Biden has never consented to his personal information being accessed or shared in this way, his attorney says.
“This botched dirty political ploy directly resulted in the disclosure, exploitation and manipulation of Mr Biden’s private and personal information,” the letter says, adding: “Politicians and the news media have unlawfully accessed, copied, distributed and manipulated this . data to distort the truth and harm Mr. Biden.”
Mac Isaac declined to comment when reached by The Associated Press Wednesday night. Costello, asked to comment on his and Giuliani’s behalf, called the letter “a frivolous legal document” and said it “smacks of desperation because they know doomsday is coming for the Bidens.”
An attorney who represented Bannon at a trial in Washington, D.C. last year, did not immediately call back for comment. A Fox News representative was not immediately available for comment.
The letter to the Justice Department was addressed to the top national security official, Matthew Olsen. It cites possible violations of statutes prohibiting unauthorized access to a computer or stored electronic communications, as well as the transportation of stolen data across state lines and the publication of confidential personal information with intent to intimidate or threaten.
It also calls on prosecutors to investigate whether the data has been manipulated or tampered with in any way.
“The actions described above merit more than a full investigation and, depending on the resulting facts, may merit prosecution under various statutes. It is not customary for a private individual and his counsel to seek someone else under investigation, but the actions and motives here warrant it,” Lowell wrote in the letter.
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment.
Separate letters were also sent requesting investigations to the Delaware Attorney General’s Office and to the IRS. Spokesmen there did not immediately return emails seeking comment.
Associated Press writer David Bauder in New York contributed to this report.
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