WASHINGTON (AP) — A lawyer for President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, asked the Justice Department in a letter Wednesday to investigate a close ally of former President Donald Trump and others who accessed and distributed personal data from a laptop the owner of a computer repair shop said. dropped in its Delaware store in 2019.
In a separate letter, Hunter Biden’s lawyer also asked Fox News host Tucker Carlson to retract and apologize for what they said were false and defamatory statements made repeatedly about him on air, including suggesting without evidence that he had unauthorized access to documents that classified in his father’s house.
The request for a criminal investigation, which 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 other action. But it also represents a shift in strategy and a rare public response by the young Biden and his legal team to years of attacks by Republican officials. and conservative media, scrutiny 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 New York Post story in October 2020 that detailed several emails said to be 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 prominent Washington lawyer Abbe Lowell, seeks an investigation into, among others, former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, Trump’s longtime lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Giuliani’s own lawyer and Wilmington owner of a computer repair shop, John Paul Mac Isaac, who has said. Hunter Biden dropped a laptop at his store in April 2019 and never returned to retrieve it.
The letter cited excerpts from Mac Isaac’s book in which he admitted to reviewing personal and sensitive material from Biden’s laptop, including a file titled “income.pdf.” Note that Mac Isaac sent a copy of the laptop data to Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, who then shared it with Giuliani, a Trump ally who at the time was pushing discredited theories about the young Biden.
Giuliani provided the information to a reporter at the New York Post, who first wrote about the laptop, and also to Bannon, according to the letter. Hunter Biden never allowed his personal information to be accessed or shared in that way, his lawyer said.
“This failed dirty political trick directly led to the exposure, exploitation, and manipulation of Mr. Biden’s personal and private information,” the letter said, adding, “Politicians and the news media have used this unauthorized access, copied, distributed, and manipulated data. to distort the truth and cause harm to Mr. Biden.
Mac Isaac declined to comment when reached by The Associated Press Wednesday evening. Costello, asked for comment on behalf of himself and Giuliani, called the letter “a frivolous legal document” and said he “reeks of despair because he knows judgment day is coming for the Bidens.”
A lawyer who represented Bannon at the trial in Washington, DC, last year did not immediately return a request for comment. A Fox News representative had no immediate comment.
The letter to the Department of Justice was addressed to its top national security official, Matthew Olsen. This CITES may be a violation of the statute prohibiting unauthorized access of computer or stored electronic communications, as well as the transport of stolen data across state lines and the publication of personal data is restricted with the intent to intimidate or threaten.
It also asked prosecutors to investigate whether any of the data was manipulated or altered in any way.
“The actions described above are more than a full investigation and, depending on the resulting facts, may be prosecuted under various laws. It is not common for private individuals and their counsel to seek others to be investigated, but the actions and motives here require it, ” wrote Lowell in his letter.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
Separate letters requesting an investigation were also sent to the Delaware state attorney general’s office and to the Internal Revenue Service. A spokeswoman there did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Associated Press writer David Bauder in New York contributed to this report.
Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP