Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Hunter Biden’s lawyers, in new aggressive strategy, target his critics


Hunter Biden’s lawyers, in a newly aggressive strategy, sent a series of blistering letters Wednesday to state and federal prosecutors urging criminal investigations into those who accessed and disseminated his personal data — and sent a separate letter threatening Fox News host Tucker Carlson with a defamation lawsuit.

The string of letters, which included criminal referrals and cease-and-desist missives aimed at critics and detractors, marked the start of a new and far more hard-hitting phase for the president’s son just as House Republicans prepare their own investigations into him.

Abbe Lowell, a recently hired lawyer whom Biden enlisted about a month ago, sent lengthy letters to the Justice Department and Delaware’s attorney general requesting investigations into several key players who were involved in disseminating data from a laptop that Biden is said to have dropped off at a repair shop in Wilmington, Del.

Bryan M. Sullivan, another lawyer now representing Biden, sent a separate communication to Carlson and Fox News demanding that they correct falsehoods from his recent show or risk a possible defamation lawsuit.

And in another letter, Lowell wrote to the Internal Revenue Service challenging the nonprofit status of Marco Polo, a group that is run by conservative activist Garrett M. Ziegler. Lowell provided 36 pages as evidence that the group is engaging in political activity in violation of its nonprofit status.

Some in Hunter Biden’s circle want to go after accusers

Taken together, the actions represent the boldest and most aggressive moves to date from Biden, who has often heeded the advice of those who urged him not to make public waves. Those close to President Biden and the White House have preferred a more conservative approach, but some individuals around Hunter Biden have wanted to be more assertive in telling his side of the story and going more directly after his opponents.

“This marks a new approach by Hunter Biden and his team,” said one person familiar with his strategy, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss private plans. “He is not going to sit quietly by as questionable characters continue to violate his rights and media organizations peddling in lies try to defame him.”

The new strategy marks a calculated risk that it is better to forge a combative path and take on Biden’s longtime critics, even if it means inviting more news coverage of a dark chapter in his life and draws additional attention to the trove of personal and embarrassing material included on a laptop that has been disseminated by his detractors.

In the letters related to his personal data, Biden’s lawyers are asking state and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate individuals who came into possession of the data, some of which could have come from a laptop he purportedly dropped off in Delaware in April 2019. They claim that about a half-dozen people have violated various statutes, including by making public restricted private information; accessing and disseminating stolen property; and making false statements to Congress.

“The actions described above more than merit a full investigation and, depending on the resulting facts, may merit prosecution under various statutes,” the letters read. “It is not a common thing for a private person and his counsel to seek someone else being investigated, but the actions and motives here require it.”

Hunter Biden’s allies weigh legal defense fund

The letters are particularly focused on John Paul Mac Isaac, the computer repair shop owner who has claimed 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 point to inconsistencies in his account.

The letters also request investigations into former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was given the material from Mac Isaac and later distributed it; Robert Costello, who is Giuliani’s lawyer and also received the material; and Stephen K. Bannon, who has also had the material and helped facilitate initial news stories about it.

Hunter Biden’s attorneys also name Jack Maxey, who provided the material to several news outlets, including The Washington Post, as well as Ziegler, who has uploaded data onto his website, and Yaacov Apelbaum, a former aide to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) who Mac Isaac has said helped create a “forensic image” of the hard drive.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to…

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