Hunter Biden’s threat of a lawsuit over news reports based on the contents of his leaked laptop computer would expose President Biden’s son to depositions and other legal discovery about his family’s far-flung business deals.
That would be a huge headache for Hunter Biden and his father, who is expected to launch his 2024 reelection campaign soon.
Hunter Biden threatened to sue Fox News host Tucker Carlson for defamation after Mr. Carlson accused the Biden family of conducting a money laundering scheme.
If the lawsuit proceeds, Mr. Carlson’s attorneys could turn the tables on Hunter Biden during the litigation. They could use the discovery process to question the president’s son under oath about his foreign business dealings, which critics say are flooded with influence peddling and other corruption.
“If Hunter sues various conservatives, they can try to depose him. There is a risk to this strategy,” said Josh Blackman, a law professor at South Texas College of Law.
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, suggested that the president would not want to invite such a risk, which could amount to political suicide.
SEE ALSO: Hunter Biden’s lawyers say they don’t confirm the laptop’s contents are real
“Hunter has much more to lose in discovery than he could gain. Since truth is a defense, many lawyers would relish the chance to get Hunter in a deposition on his foreign dealings. For an individual who has avoided public questioning about his conduct, he suddenly seems to be inviting actual testimony under oath and under highly hostile conditions. His father would welcome that prospect as much as drinking molten lead,” he said.
Hunter Biden’s attorneys, Abbe Lowell and Bryan Sullivan, did not respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Lowell denied that letters calling for investigations into the publication of the contents from Hunter Biden’s discarded laptop computer confirms the authenticity of the material on the hard drive.
He sent letters to the Justice Department and the Delaware attorney general to request investigations of Delaware computer repairman Mac Isaac as well as Rudolph W. Giuliani and Steve Bannon, insiders of former President Donald Trump. Mr. Lowell claimed “unauthorized access, copying and dissemination of [Hunter] Biden’s personal information” and said someone might have tampered with the files on the laptop.
“These letters do not confirm Mac Isaac’s or others’ versions of a so-called laptop,” Mr. Lowell told Fox News Digital on Thursday. “They address their conduct of seeking, manipulating and disseminating what they allege to be Mr. Biden’s personal data, wherever they claim to have gotten it.”
The White House has long dismissed the authenticity of the laptop, which several news outlets have authenticated. The New York Post made the computer’s embarrassing contents public in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election.
SEE ALSO: Report: Hunter Biden launches offensive over laptop with lawsuit threats, investigation demands
Hunter Biden’s public relations strategy seemed to presuppose that the laptop and the contents of the hard drive were authentic.
In addition to calling for investigations into those accused of accessing and disseminating the laptop, Hunter Biden’s attorneys sent cease and desist letters to outlets that obtained and disseminated the laptop’s contents.
The legal team also accused Mr. Carlson of making “false and defamatory statements” concerning claims that Mr. Biden paid “rent” to his father “in what Mr. Carlson implied was essentially a money laundering scheme to finance President Biden’s lifestyle prior to his election.”
The letter to Mr. Carlson and a Fox News attorney accused the network of defamation by “alluding to Mr. Biden having unauthorized access to classified documents because of his presence at President Biden’s house.”
Mr. Sullivan said Fox’s claims are false.
Fox did not respond to a request for comment.
Hunter Biden’s laptop computer has provided a trove of evidence for Republicans in Congress who have pledged to investigate whether Mr. Biden had any involvement in his son’s overseas business deals.
Hunter Biden’s far-flung moneymaking schemes raised eyebrows for years about potential influence peddling and other crimes. He served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, pursued deals with Chinese Communist Party-linked energy tycoons and allegedly pocketed more than $3 million from a Russian businesswoman who is the widow of a former mayor of Moscow.
House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, Kentucky Republican, laid out evidence in November that he said “raises troubling questions” about whether the president has been “compromised by foreign governments” in connection with his son’s ventures.
Citing evidence obtained from the laptop and through whistleblowers, Mr. Comer said his committee uncovered a “decade-long pattern of influence peddling, national security risks and political cover-ups” by the Biden family with the knowledge and involvement of the president.
In a 31-page report, the committee’s Republicans said the president was directly involved in his family’s business deals, including those involving foreign interests, despite claiming he did not know the details.
The White House has brushed off Republicans’ pledge to expand their inquiry. It called the lawmakers’ claims “politically motivated attacks chock-full of long-debunked conspiracy theories.”
A lawyer familiar with the letters said the impending congressional investigation might be what is motivating the letters from Hunter Biden’s attorneys.
“Maybe he’s thinking one way to stymie the congressional committee is if he can get either a Justice Department or Delaware state investigation going, and then he’ll say, ‘Well, we cannot cooperate with the House committee now because there’s an ongoing criminal investigation,’” said the lawyer, who requested anonymity to talk about potential litigation.
He said it’s “just silly at this point” to dispute the authenticity of the laptop.
“They’re accusing people of accessing Hunter’s laptop. Everybody knows he dropped the thing off, he signed a work order and so on,” the lawyer said.