WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for President Joe Biden’s son Hunter asked the Justice Department in a letter Wednesday to investigate former President Donald Trump and other close allies who accessed and disseminated personal data from a laptop. Dropped in their Delaware store in 2019.
In a separate letter, Hunter Biden’s lawyers asked Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson to retract and apologize for repeatedly making false and defamatory claims about him, including unsubstantiated claims that he had unauthorized access to classified documents discovered. His father’s house.
The request for a criminal trial comes as Hunter Biden faces his own tax evasion investigation by the Justice Department, does not mean federal prosecutors will open an investigation or take any other action. But nonetheless, it represents a concerted shift in strategy and a rare public response to attacks from Republican officials by the younger Biden and his legal team. And with the conservative media, the scrutiny is expected to continue as the GOP takes over the House.
It represents the latest salvo in the long-running laptop sagaThe New York Post began with a story in October 2020 that described some emails it said were found on a device related to Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. Trump quickly seized on it as a campaign issue during that year’s presidential election.
The letter, signed by prominent Washington attorney Abbey Lovell, calls for an investigation of former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, Trump’s longtime lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Giuliani’s own lawyer and Wilmington computer repair shop owner John Paul McIsaac, among others. Hunter Biden dropped a laptop at his store in April 2019 and never returned to pick it up.
The letter cites portions of MacIsaac’s book in which he admitted to reviewing private and sensitive material from Biden’s laptop, including a file titled “income.pdf.” It notes that MacIsaac sent a copy of the laptop data to Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, who shared it with Giuliani, a close Trump ally, who at the time was pushing discredited theories about the younger Biden.
Giuliani provided the information to reporters at the New York Post, who first wrote about the laptop, and also to Bannon, according to the letter. Hunter Biden never consented to access or share any of his personal information in that way, his lawyer says.
“This failed dirty political tactic directly led to the disclosure, exploitation and manipulation of Mr. Biden’s private and personal information,” the letter says, adding, “Politicians and the news media illegally accessed, copied, distributed and manipulated this data to distort the truth and harm Mr. Biden.”
MacIsaac declined to comment when reached by The Associated Press on Wednesday evening. Costello, when asked to comment on his and Giuliani’s behalf, called the letter “a flimsy legal document” and said it was “frustrating because the Bidens know the day of judgment is coming.”
A lawyer who represented Bannon at last year’s hearing in Washington, DC, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A Fox News representative had no immediate comment.
The letter to the Justice Department was written to its top national security official, Matthew Olsen. It refers to potential violations of laws prohibiting unauthorized access to computer or stored electronic communications, as well as transporting stolen data across state lines and publishing restricted personal data with intent to threaten or intimidate.
It asks prosecutors to investigate whether any data was manipulated or distorted in any way.
“The actions described above merit a full investigation and, depending on the resulting facts, may merit prosecution under various statutes. It is not common for a private individual and his attorney to subject another to an investigation, but the actions and motives here require it,” Lowell wrote in the letter.
A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.
Separate letters requesting investigations were sent to the Delaware state attorney general’s office and the Internal Revenue Service. A spokesman there did not immediately return emails seeking comment.
Associated Press writer David Bauder in New York contributed to this report.
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