Hunter Biden sues former Trump aide over infamous laptop
(ABC News) – Attorneys for Hunter Biden on Wednesday filed suit against a former Trump White House aide over his alleged role in publishing online a trove of emails and embarrassing images purportedly belonging to the president’s son.
The 13-page suit, filed in federal court in California, accuses Garrett Ziegler of improperly “accessing, tampering with, manipulating, altering, copying and damaging computer data that they do not own” in violation of the state’s computer fraud laws.
Ziegler, a former aide to White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, has emerged as one of the Biden family’s most outspoken critics, often using crude language to chide President Joe Biden and his embattled son online.
The lawsuit describes in detail how Ziegler and 10 additional unnamed defendants allegedly obtained data belonging to Hunter Biden and disseminated “tens of thousands of emails, thousands of photos, and dozens of videos and recordings” on the internet.
Hunter Biden is seeking a jury trial to determine appropriate damages and an injunction preventing Ziegler from continuing to access or tamper with his data.
“While Defendant Ziegler is entitled to his extremist and counterfactual opinions, he has no right to engage in illegal activities to advance his right-wing agenda,” wrote attorneys for Hunter Biden. “Yet that is precisely what Defendant Ziegler and his so-called ‘nonprofit research group’ … have done.”
An attorney for Ziegler did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Ziegler previously condemned “the disgusting lawfare tactics by the pResident’s corrupt & degenerate bagman & son against @mpolousa,” after receiving a document retention letter from Hunter Biden’s attorney earlier this year.
Ziegler’s bold investigative efforts and controversial online commentary about the Bidens — whom he has referred to as “a pack of feral dogs” — have made him a star in conservative news outlets. He “regularly brag[s] about their illegal activities in interviews with members of the media, on social media, and on right-wing podcasts,” according to the suit.
In the lawsuit, Hunter Biden’s attorneys characterize him as “a zealot who has waged a sustained, unhinged and obsessed campaign against [Hunter Biden] and the entire Biden family for more than two years.”
Wednesday’s suit is the latest salvo in Hunter Biden’s legal counteroffensive against those who allegedly participated in the infamous laptop controversy in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election.
Hunter Biden’s legal team in March filed suit against John Paul Mac Isaac, a Delaware-based computer repairman who in April 2019 purportedly obtained and later disseminated data from a laptop allegedly belonging to the president’s son. That suit remains ongoing and Mac Isaac has denied any wrongdoing.
Ziegler’s online antics have opened real-world opportunities for him to pursue allegations of corruption against the Bidens. He has claimed that he regularly consults with Republican congressional investigators as part of their investigation into the president. Also, an Arkansas attorney who represents the mother of one of Hunter Biden’s children enlisted Ziegler as an expert witness in their protracted paternity dispute. That suit was settled earlier this year.
Attorneys for Hunter Biden have previously referred Ziegler to federal and state investigators for alleged criminal behavior. And in the spring, Hunter Biden attorney Abbe Lowell twice wrote letters to Ziegler instructing him to preserve documents related to Hunter Biden — a letter commonly sent by attorneys before filing formal litigation.
Meanwhile, Hunter Biden continues to face legal exposure of his own. In the past few months, Hunter Biden has suffered a string of setbacks, led by the demise of a plea deal that might have ended the federal investigation into his overseas business dealings.
That agreement would have allowed him to plead guilty to a pair of misdemeanor tax offenses to most likely avoid jail time, and enter into a diversion program to avoid prosecution on a felony gun charge. But the two-pronged deal fell apart during a court hearing in July, and U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who has since been elevated to special counsel, has signaled his intention to now indict Hunter Biden in multiple venues on tax and gun charges.
In Washington, Hunter Biden and his father continue to face a GOP-led congressional investigation into what House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer says are the Biden family’s “shady business deals.” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday announced that he was ordering House Republicans to move ahead with an impeachment inquiry into President Biden.
The White House attacked the move as “extreme politics at its worst,” adding that “the president hasn’t done anything wrong.”