Hunter Biden sued Rudy Giuliani and another attorney on Tuesday, alleging the two wrongfully accessed and shared his personal data after obtaining it from the owner of a computer repair shop in Delaware.
The lawsuit was the last of a new strategy by Hunter Biden to counterattack Donald Trump's Republican allies, who have exchanged and disseminated his private data, including alleged emails and embarrassing images, in their effort to discredit his father, President Joe Biden .
The lawsuit accuses Giuliani and attorney Robert Costello of spending years "hacking, altering, manipulating, copying, disseminating and generally obsessing over" data that was "taken or stolen" from Biden's devices or storage, which led to "total annihilation." ”of Biden's digital privacy.
The lawsuit filed in California also claims that Biden's data was “manipulated, altered and corrupted” before being sent to Giuliani and Costello, and has been further modified since then. Accessing, opening and sharing it violated anti-hacking laws, the lawsuit argues. It seeks unspecified damages and a court order to return the data and make no more copies.
Ted Goodman, Giuliani's political adviser, said it was false to claim that Giuliani tampered with the laptop's hard drive, but that he "wasn't surprised ... considering the sordid material and possible 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 failed to 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 requesting a Justice Department investigation into him and others connected to the laptop was a "frivolous legal document" that "reeks of desperation because they know that “The day of reckoning is approaching for Biden.”
Tuesday's lawsuit marks the latest turn in the long 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. Trump quickly seized on it as a campaign issue during that year's presidential election.
Biden doesn't explicitly acknowledge that the laptop he left at the computer store was his, but says "at least some" of the data was on his iPhone or in an iCloud backup.
A Justice Department special prosecutor is separately conducting an investigation into Hunter Biden's taxes and filed charges of purchase and possession of firearms against him after a previous deal on firearms taxes and fees imploded. He plans to plead not guilty to the weapons charges, according to court records.
Meanwhile, House Republicans have continued to investigate all aspects of Hunter Biden's business dealings and have sought to link them to his father, the president, as part of an impeachment inquiry. A hearing Thursday is expected to again detail some of his claims.
Meanwhile, Hunter Biden, after remaining silent as the images spread across the country, has changed tactics and his allies have signaled there is more to come. In recent months, he also sued a former Trump aide over his alleged role in publishing embarrassing emails and 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 an investigation by House Republicans into his businesses.
Biden has also pushed for investigations into Giuliani and Costello, along with the Wilmington computer repair shop owner who said Hunter Biden left a laptop at his store in April 2019 and never returned to pick it up.
Giuliani provided the information to a New York Post reporter, who first wrote about the laptop, Biden's lawyer said in a letter calling for a federal investigation.