Hunter Biden, whose computer records sparked Republican congressional investigations of his father, President Joe Biden, sued Rudy Giuliani and his lawyer on Tuesday for allegedly copying, manipulating and distributing the records in a “total annihilation” of his privacy.
Giuliani, who was a campaign lawyer for Donald Trump, allegedly reviewed the digital information for months before providing it to reporters and Republican lawmakers before the 2020 election against Joe Biden, according to the federal lawsuit.
Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, who is now also suing Giuliani for $1.36 million in unpaid legal bills, allegedly helped review and distribute information from the laptop, according to the lawsuit.
Ted Goodman, a spokesperson for Giuliani, noted Hunter Biden previously refused to admit the laptop was his.
"I'm not surprised he's now falsely claiming his laptop hard drive was manipulated by Mayor Giuliani, considering the sordid material and potential evidence of crimes on that thing," Goodman said.
The lawsuit comes two days before the Republican-led House Oversight Committee hearing in the impeachment inquiry of President Biden, based in part on information from the laptop. The White House has dismissed the inquiry as baseless and hyper-partisan.
Hunter Biden now lives in Los Angeles, where the lawsuit was filed. It alleges violations of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, California’s Computer Data Access and Fraud Act and California’s Unfair Competition Law.
The dispute is about Hunter Biden’s laptop and the information on an external hard drive. Biden left the equipment at a Delaware computer repair shop and never returned to pick it back up. The shop owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, claimed ownership of the equipment and passed it along to the FBI and to Giuliani. Biden previously sued Mac Isaac over distribution of the laptop.
Because the digital information has changed hands so many times, Hunter Biden has challenged the veracity of what has been publicly released. At least some of the information belongs to Hunter Biden, but “illegal hacking and tampering” altered and damaged the data, rendering it for forensic purposes as “garbage,” according to the lawsuit.
Political activists and lawmakers have revealed nude pictures of Hunter Biden and bank records that appear to chronicle his overseas business deals.
Republican lawmakers have used the financial records to question whether President Biden benefited from his son’s business deals. But Democratic lawmakers highlighted the lack of any direct link of payments to the president.
The lawsuit alleges that Giuliani and Costello spent months reviewing and manipulating the data before releasing it.
For example, Costello stated publicly he “scrolled through” thousands of emails, bank statements and pictures, which made him “feel like a voyeur,” according to the lawsuit. Costello said publicly he manipulated the data to be “cleaned up” and created new digital folders with titles such as “Salacious Pics” and “The Big Guy,” according to the lawsuit.
Giuiani said on the Jan. 26, 2023, episode of his podcst “Rudy’s Common Sense” that he loaded data from Hunter Biden’s equipment onto his own computer and accessed it during the program, according to the lawsuit.
During the Feb. 2, 2023, episode of his “America’s Mayor Live” podcast, Giuliani held up a laptop and announced it belonged to Hunter Biden before bragging about copying data onto his own computer, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, a jury trial and a halt to distribution of the information.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hunter Biden sues Rudy Giuliani over release of personal laptop data