Hunter Biden sues Giuliani, another lawyer over laptop data

The suit also claims Biden’s data was “manipulated, altered and damaged”

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden filed a lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani and another attorney on Tuesday, alleging that the two improperly accessed and shared his personal information after obtaining it from the owner of a Delaware computer repair shop.

The lawsuit was the latest in Hunter Biden’s new strategy to retaliate against Donald Trump’s Republican allies, who have traded and passed around his private data, including purported emails and embarrassing images, in an effort to discredit his father, President Joe Biden.

The suit claims that Giuliani and his attorney, Robert Costello, spent years “hacking into, tampering with, manipulating, copying, disseminating, and generally obsessing over” data “taken or stolen” from Biden’s devices or storage, resulting in the “total annihilation” of Biden’s digital privacy.

The California lawsuit also claims that Biden’s data was “manipulated, altered, and damaged” before being sent to Giuliani and Costello, and that it has since been altered further. The suit claims that accessing, opening, and sharing it violated computer hacking laws. It seeks unspecified monetary damages as well as a court order requiring the data to be returned and no further copies to be made.

Ted Goodman, Giuliani’s political adviser, said the claim that Giuliani manipulated the laptop hard drive was false, but he was “not surprised… considering the sordid material and potential evidence of crimes on that thing.”

Costello used to represent Giuliani, but he recently sued the former New York City mayor for failing to pay more than $1.3 million in legal bills.

Costello would not comment. He told The Associated Press in February that a letter from Hunter Biden’s lawyers requesting a Justice Department investigation into him and others in connection with the laptop was a “frivolous legal document” that “reeks of desperation because they know judgment day is coming for the Bidens.”

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday is the latest twist in the long-running laptop saga, which began in October 2020 with a New York Post story detailing some of the emails it claims were found on the device related to Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. During the presidential election that year, Trump quickly seized on it as a campaign issue.

Biden does not explicitly state that the laptop left at the computer shop was his, but he does state that “at least some” of the data was on his iPhone or backed up to iCloud.

Separately, a Justice Department special counsel is investigating Hunter Biden’s taxes and has filed firearm purchase and possession charges against him after a previous plea deal on tax and gun charges fell through. According to court records, he intends to plead not guilty to the gun charges.

Meanwhile, House Republicans have continued to investigate every aspect of Hunter Biden’s business dealings and attempted to link them to his father, the president, as part of an impeachment investigation. A hearing on Thursday is scheduled to go over some of their claims again.

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden has changed his strategy after remaining silent as the images spread across the country, and his allies have hinted that more is on the way. In recent months, he has also sued a former Trump aide for his alleged role in the publication of emails and embarrassing images, as well as filed a lawsuit against the IRS, alleging that his personal data was wrongfully shared by two agents who testified as whistleblowers as part of a House Republican investigation into his business dealings.

Biden has also called for an investigation into Giuliani and Costello, as well as the owner of a Wilmington computer repair shop who claims Hunter Biden dropped off a laptop at his shop in April 2019 and never returned to pick it up.

According to Biden’s attorney, Giuliani gave the information to a reporter at the New York Post, who was the first to write about the laptop.

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