September 26, 2023 - 7:27 am
WASHINGTON — 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 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.
They broke laws against computer hacking when they did, according to the lawsuit. It seeks unspecified damages and a court order to return the data and make no more copies.
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.
A spokesman for Giuliani did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday morning. Costello declined to comment. In February, he told The Associated Press that a letter from Hunter Biden 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 also separately pursuing an investigation into Biden’s taxes, and has filed firearm possession charges against him, and he plans to plead not guilty. He’s also charged with tax crimes.
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.