UNITED STATES NEWS

Hunter Biden sues Rudy Giuliani and another lawyer over accessing and sharing of his personal data

Sep 26, 2023, 7:00 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden sued Rudy Giuliani and another attorney Tuesday, saying the two wrongly accessed and shared his personal data after obtaining it from the owner of a Delaware computer repair shop.

The lawsuit was the latest in a new strategy by Hunter Biden to strike back against Republican allies of Donald Trump, who have traded and passed around his private data including purported emails and embarrassing images in their effort to discredit his father, President Joe Biden.

The suit accuses Giuliani and attorney Robert Costello of spending years “hacking into, tampering with, manipulating, copying, disseminating, and generally obsessing over” the data that was “taken or stolen” from Biden’s devices or storage, leading to the “total annihilation” of Biden’s digital privacy.

The suit filed in California also claims Biden’s data was “manipulated, altered and damaged” before it was sent to Giuliani and Costello, and has been further altered since then. Accessing, opening and sharing it broke laws against computer hacking, the suit argues. It seeks unspecified damages and a court order to return the data and make no more copies.

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

Costello used to represent Giuliani, but recently filed a lawsuit against the former New York City mayor saying he did not pay more than $1.3 million in legal bills.

Costello declined to comment. In February, he told The Associated Press that a letter from Hunter Biden’s lawyers that requested a Justice Department investigation of him and others related to the laptop was a “frivolous legal document” that “reeks of desperation because they know judgment day is coming for the Bidens.”

Tuesday’s lawsuit marks the latest turn in the long-running laptop saga, which began with a New York Post story in October 2020 that detailed some of the emails it says were found on the device related to Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. It was swiftly seized on by Trump as a campaign issue during the presidential election that year.

Biden doesn’t explicitly acknowledge that the laptop left at the computer shop was his, but says “at least some” of the data was on his iPhone or backed up to iCloud.

A Justice Department special counsel is separately pursuing an investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes, and filed firearm purchase and possession charges against him after a previous plea deal on tax and gun charges imploded. He plans to plead not guilty to the gun counts, according to court records.

House Republicans, meanwhile, have continued to investigate every aspect of Hunter Biden’s business dealings and sought to tie them to his father, the president, as part of an impeachment inquiry. A hearing on Thursday is expected to detail some of their claims anew.

Hunter Biden, meanwhile, after remaining silent as the images are splayed across the country, has changed his tactic, and his allies have signaled there’s more to come. Over the past few months, he’s also sued a former aide to Trump over his alleged role in publishing emails and embarrassing images, and filed a lawsuit against the IRS saying his personal data was wrongly shared by two agents who testified as whistleblowers as part of a probe by House Republicans into his business dealings.

Biden has also pushed for an investigation into Giuliani and Costello, along with the Wilmington computer repair shop owner who has said Hunter Biden dropped a laptop off at his store in April 2019 and never returned to pick it up.

Giuliani provided the information to a reporter at the New York Post, which first wrote about the laptop, Biden’s attorney said in a letter pushing for a federal investigation.

___

Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

 

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Hunter Biden sues Rudy Giuliani and another lawyer over accessing and sharing of his personal data