Hunter Biden is suing Trolley Square laptop repairman at center of data leak. What we know

·3 min read

Hunter Biden is suing the Trolley Square computer repair shop owner who claimed Biden dropped off his computer and never retrieved it, which led to the leak and publication of private photographs and correspondence belonging to the president’s son.

Biden's legal claims, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Delaware, are that John Paul Mac Isaac had no right to access and copy the data on the laptop and then invaded Biden’s privacy by disseminating the ill-gotten content.

Here's a rundown of what you need to know.

First, who is John Paul Mac Isaac again?

Mac Isaac is the former owner of The Mac Shop in Wilmington, which is now closed.

He claims that in April 2019, a man who identified himself as Hunter Biden brought three liquid-damaged laptops to his small repair shop in the Trolley Square shopping center. Mac Isaac claims Biden never returned to retrieve the electronics and so they became his property and, motivated by his concern about the content, as well as his political leanings, he disseminated information stored on the devices.

John Paul Mac Isaac, owner of the Mac Shop in Wilmington, Delaware, says a man who identified himself as Hunter Biden brought damaged computer equipment to his small repair shop in April 2019.
John Paul Mac Isaac, owner of the Mac Shop in Wilmington, Delaware, says a man who identified himself as Hunter Biden brought damaged computer equipment to his small repair shop in April 2019.

Eventually, the hard drive's contents made their way into the hands of former President Donald Trump's associates and the New York Post during the fever of the last presidential campaign.

Mac Isaac was rocketed into the national spotlight in October 2020 when the New York Post published an exposé on information purporting to be from Hunter Biden's laptop.

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The publication's piece inadvertently outed Mac Isaac as the source of the laptop's data, which included financial documents, personal correspondence and more lurid content like pictures depicting the president's son in the nude and using drugs. Mac Isaac, who can still be seen from time to time in Trolley Square, has since gone on to write a book and portray himself as a victim in the scandal.

Last year, he filed a lawsuit against Hunter Biden, as well as news publications CNN, The Daily Beast and U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, for defamation, claiming he'd been characterized as a thief and a Russian agent and this caused him to shutter his business.

What does Hunter Biden's lawsuit claim?

Biden's lawsuit is a rejection of the claims in Mac Isaac's complaint, as well as a countersuit against Mac Isaac for invasion of privacy.

PREVIOUSLY: Wilmington computer repairman at center of Hunter Biden laptop story sues news outlets

It claims that Mac Isaac had no right to access and copy the data on the laptop and that the shop owner further invaded Biden’s privacy by disseminating the ill-gotten content.

It references a signed receipt that purports to forfeit the devices to Mac Isaac if they were not retrieved within 90 days. Biden's lawsuit states that document may give Mac Isaac rights to the devices, but not to the data stored within.

It goes on to claim that Delaware law deems personal property as abandoned only after one year and after other efforts to reach the rightful owner.

Hunter Biden walks along the South Lawn before the pardoning ceremony for the national Thanksgiving turkeys at the White House in Washington, Nov. 21, 2022. Lawyers for President Joe Biden's son Hunter have asked the Justice Department to investigate close allies of former President Donald Trump and others who they say accessed and disseminated personal data from a laptop he dropped off at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2019.
Hunter Biden walks along the South Lawn before the pardoning ceremony for the national Thanksgiving turkeys at the White House in Washington, Nov. 21, 2022. Lawyers for President Joe Biden's son Hunter have asked the Justice Department to investigate close allies of former President Donald Trump and others who they say accessed and disseminated personal data from a laptop he dropped off at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2019.

The 42-page filing also draws on reporting and Mac Isaac’s recently published book outlining a narrative of how the photographs came into the hands of Republican operatives and others.

The countersuit makes several claims under Delaware civil law for invasion of privacy, seeks a jury trial and ultimately compensatory damages from Mac Isaac.

What happens next?

Mac Isaac's attorneys have not responded to Biden's most recent court filing and countersuit as of Friday.

The escalation in litigation comes as President Joe Biden prepares for a 2024 run for reelection, as well as while Republicans in Congress seek to investigate Biden family finances, according to reporting by CNN.

It also comes as a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden remains pending by federal prosecutors in Wilmington.

Contact Xerxes Wilson at (302) 324-2787 or xwilson@delawareonline.com. Follow @Ber_Xerxes on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Hunter Biden sues Delaware laptop repairman for privacy invasion