Hunter Biden will face hours of questioning — under oath — on Thursday when he sits for a deposition in the civil case brought by the owner of the computer repair shop where he abandoned his laptop. The deposition represents the first time the president’s son will be forced to confirm he owned the laptop that contained a cache of emails incriminating the Biden family in a pay-to-play scandal. And unlike the criminal investigation into Hunter’s conduct, this time his father’s administration won’t be able to protect him.
Last October, John Paul Mac Isaac, the owner of the computer repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware, where Hunter Biden abandoned his “laptop from hell,” filed suit against Hunter Biden among others, alleging defamation. Hunter Biden’s attorneys countered with claims against Mac Isaac, alleging the store owner had committed several “invasion of privacy” torts by sharing the data recovered from the laptop. In filing the counterclaim, and the answer and defenses to Mac Isaac’s defamation lawsuit, Hunter Biden claimed he lacked “knowledge sufficient to admit or deny the allegations,” that the laptop was his and that he dropped it off at the repair shop.
On Thursday, however, Hunter will be under oath and unable to allow his attorneys to obfuscate on his behalf. One of the first questions posed to the president’s son will be whether he left the MacBook at the repair shop and signed the agreement stating that any “equipment left with the Mac Shop after 90 days of notification of completed service will be treated as abandoned and you agree to hold the Mac Shop harmless for any damage or loss of property.”
Of course, Hunter Biden’s high-priced lawyers will do all they can to keep Hunter from providing substantive responses, and the president’s son will likely trot out the “I don’t remember” response so frequently one would be forgiven for thinking they’re questioning the elder Biden. But unlike the “journalists” interviewing Hunter, Mac Isaac’s attorney, Brian Della Rocca, will probe the matter further.
Is this your signature? Does it look like your signature? Did you have a MacBook? Did it have a Biden Foundation sticker? Did it break? Did you ever visit this area of Wilmington? What about this store? Where did you live at the time? If an expert identifies this as your signature, do you have any basis to challenge that conclusion?
Then there is Mac Isaac’s claim that Hunter Biden returned to the store a second time with a “Western Digital external hard drive” to allow Mac Isaac to transfer the recovered data to that hard drive. Follow-up questions here will expose the ridiculous idea that Hunter has no recollection of the affairs, if that is what Hunter Biden claims: So you may have come to this store twice, driving yourself, but you have no recollection because you were too high to remember? Is that your testimony? And you don’t remember purchasing a hard drive?
Even if Hunter denies dropping off the laptop, Mac Isaac’s attorney will try to connect him to the laptop by establishing he purchased the external hard drive. To that end, Mac Isaac’s lawyer directed Hunter Biden to bring “all unredacted bank records” “from April of 2019.” Of course, Hunter’s lawyers may omit credit card or other financial records, as not technically “bank records,” but Della Rocca can push the Biden son on this point as well: How did you pay for items you purchased in 2019? What bank accounts and credit cards did you use in April 2019? Depending on Hunter’s response, Della Rocca can provide follow-up discovery requests.
Of course, believing a Biden will provide an honest accounting of his financial records is like trusting the FBI to act competently and apolitically, so Mac Isaac’s attorney isn’t likely to hold his breath on this approach to proving Hunter Biden dropped off the laptop, signed the paperwork, and then abandoned the laptop.
Hunter refusing to acknowledge these facts, however, would make the authenticity of the laptop’s content highly relevant. If the laptop wasn’t his and he didn’t drop it off, then how did the material contained on the hard drive get there?
If the emails, photographs, videos, and other documents are fake, then an unauthorized third party leaving the MacBook at the repair store might make sense. But if the totality of the material on the laptop is authentic, then the most reasonable inference is that the laptop was Hunter’s and either he or someone acting on his behalf took it to the Mac Store to be repaired and signed the receipt.
Mr. Biden, what material on the Mac Book hard drive do you maintain is not authentic? If the documents on the Mac Book hard drive are all authentic, do you agree it is likely that the laptop was yours? Who would have had access to the laptop besides you?
Hunter’s lawyers will object frequently and likely force Della Rocca to ask the state court judge to direct the president’s son to answer the questions.
Hunter Biden’s attorneys may have made a tactical mistake, however, as instead of merely defending Mac Isaac’s defamation case, they filed several counterclaims against the computer repair store owner. Those counterclaims all rest on the theory that Mac Isaac unlawfully reviewed or copied Hunter’s data. But if the data Mac Isaac accessed was on the laptop left at his store, Hunter Biden has a problem because the signatory of the repair contract agreed not just that equipment left at the store for more than 90 days would be abandoned but that he would “hold the Mac Shop harmless for any damage or loss of property.”
While Hunter Biden attempts to distinguish between the data on the laptop and the “equipment” (i.e., the laptop), the “hold harmless” clause applies to “any” damage or loss “of property,” which is broad enough to include Hunter’s data. Thus if Hunter Biden wants to hold Mac Isaac liable for invasion of privacy, it is extremely relevant to know whether the data was on the laptop and was authentic, because the release of that data would then arguably fall within the “hold harmless” clause of the contract.
Hunter Biden’s top-shelf attorneys will strenuously object and challenge this theory, dragging out this litigation further. Frankly, that is likely their strategy because the deep pockets of the Biden family can outspend Mac Isaac, and the bleak house of the American legal system may just exhaust Mac Isaac — both his resources and his person. That would be a shame because given the Biden administration’s interference in the criminal case, this may be one of the few chances for justice.