Colorado Accelerates Timeline and Scope of SCOTUS Review of Trump’s January 6 Conduct

Colorado just booted Trump from the ballot, building on the lower court ruling that no only was January 6 an insurrection, but Trump is an officer thereby disqualified to be President.

I’m not going to read the opinion closely — I’m sure the whole world will do that.

This ruling’s impact will be more important for the way it will accelerate and expand the scope of the Supreme Court’s review of Trump’s January 6 conduct. The state has stayed their decision until January 4, giving Trump time — but not much — to appeal.

Therefore, to maintain the status quo pending any review by the U.S. Supreme Court, we stay our ruling until January 4, 2024 (the day before the Secretary’s deadline to certify the content of the presidential primary ballot). If review is sought in the Supreme Court before the stay expires on January 4, 2024, then the stay shall remain in place, and the Secretary will continue to be required to include President Trump’s name on the 2024 presidential primary ballot, until the receipt of any order or mandate from the Supreme Court.

There’s a non-zero possibility this will lead SCOTUS to accelerate their consideration of the Absolute Immunity appeal, which is more important in the near and long term. After all, if Trump were found guilty, then states really could and should consider the 14th Amendment implications.

One more point: Because Trump will have appealed by January 4, he will be on the primary ballot, giving SCOTUS lots of time to consider this issue before the General. But it really does put the onus on SCOTUS to decide a lot of these issues quickly.

Hearing Footsteps: The Paper Trail of Political Interference David Weiss Is Trying to Bury

Update: Given confusion mentioned in comments, I thought I’d do another handy dandy chart to describe the motions to dismiss, like I did for Trump’s. This post addresses the MTD Selective Vindictive Separation of Powers. 

Abbe Lowell’s motion to dismiss the gun charges against Hunter Biden for selective and vindictive prosecution and violation of separation of powers only asks for discovery in passing.

Often, MTDs for selective prosecution are requests for discovery. For comparison, in a bid to argue that Jan6er David Judd was charged more harshly than Portland rioters, his excellent public defender, Elizabeth Mullin, conceded that she did not yet have proof he was treated worse because he was a Trump supporter, but then asked for six specific things to prove the case.

Mr. Judd does not yet contend the allegations below are sufficient for dismissal of the charges against him. However, they are sufficient for the Court to compel specific discovery regarding disparities in charging decisions.

[snip]

(1) Communication between the Department of Justice (“Main Justice”) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon regarding prosecution of defendants arrested in connection with protests in 2020.

(2) Communication between management at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon and line Assistant U.S. Attorneys regarding prosecution of defendants arrested in connection with protests in 2020.

(3) Communication between the Department of Justice (“Main Justice”) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia regarding prosecution of defendants arrested in connection with the January 6 demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol.

(4) Communication between management at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and line Assistant U.S. Attorneys regarding prosecution of defendants arrested in connection with the January 6 demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol.

(5) Communication between the Department of Justice (“Main Justice”) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia regarding prosecution of the D.C. Fireworks Defendant.

(6) Communication between management at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and line Assistant U.S. Attorneys regarding prosecution of the D.C. Fireworks Defendant.

Mullin’s bid didn’t work. Judge Trevor McFadden ruled that January 6 was different than Portland — though he did use her argument to treat Jan6ers leniently at sentencing.

Compare that statement with this one, from page 50 of Abbe Lowell’s 60-page selective and vindictive MTD, where he asserts that this is the exceptional case where a defendant can prove vindictive prosecution without discovery.

Cases where a defendant can show actual vindictiveness without discovery may be few and far between, but this is surely one.

Lowell closes the entire brief with a similar statement, footnoted with the assertion that, “Were there to be any doubt at all, the basis for discovery and an evidentiary hearing has well been established.”

“[O]ur society is not bettered by law enforcement that. . . is not conducted in a spirit of fairness or good faith.” Banks, 383 F. Supp. at 397. This prosecution falls in that category, and the Court should dismiss the indictment. 109

109 As stated through this and the other motions to dismiss, the record available to the Court supporting dismissal is extraordinary. Were there to be any doubt at all, the basis for discovery and an evidentiary hearing has well been established.

This argument — that if Hunter Biden hasn’t met his burden for outright dismissal, then surely he should be granted discovery — is four other times relegated to a footnote.

One such footnote appears in a passage purporting to lay out the legal standards that govern this issue, in which Lowell cites a bunch of precedents from other circuits about dismissal in case of selective, vindictive, or separation of powers violations.

When a prosecution is selective, vindictive, or violates separation of powers, the tainted charges must be dismissed. See id. at 700 (“Preservation of this system of checks and balances requires the courts to invalidate actions that. . . undermine the authority and independence of one or another coordinate Branch.”) (citations omitted); In re Aiken Cnty., 725 F.3d 255, 264 n.7 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (“If the Executive selectively prosecutes someone based on impermissible considerations, the equal protection remedy is to dismiss the prosecution . . . .”).42

42 Where a defendant has not carried his burden, but has demonstrated a “colorable claim,” discovery and an evidentiary hearing should be permitted. United States v. Heidecke, 900 F.2d 1155, 1159 (7th Cir. 1990); United States v. Jones, 159 F.3d 969, 978, n.8 (6th Cir. 1998) (granting discovery to give the defendant “the opportunity to move to dismiss the indictment” for selective prosecution). See Mr. Biden’s Discovery Mot (filed concurrently). [my emphasis]

Armstrong, the precedent making it almost impossible for a defendant to get discovery, the one that Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise cited 48 times in his bid to defeat subpoenas, does not appear in this section (though it does appear in several other places and in the discovery motion).

As this footnote does, two other such footnotes specifically cite a motion for discovery and evidentiary hearing filed the same day. In those other two instances, Lowell cites the line in this NYT article describing that David Weiss told an associate that he preferred not to bring any charges because the average American would not be charged for these crimes.

[T]he New York Times reported that “Mr. Weiss told an associate that he preferred not to bring any charges, even misdemeanors, against Mr. Biden because the average American would not be prosecuted for similar offenses.” 9

9 Michael Schmidt et al., Inside The Collapse Of Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal, N.Y. Times (Aug. 19, 2023), https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/19/us/politics/inside-hunter-biden-plea-deal.html. The article does not disclose the source. The account is most likely true considering the charging statistics, DOJ enforcement policies described below, and Mr. Weiss’s initial reluctance in prosecuting Mr. Biden on this charge. If it is true, it is extremely damning evidence of discriminatory prosecution. Thus, to the extent there is any doubt, the Court should grant Mr. Biden’s request for discovery and an evidentiary hearing. See Mr. Biden’s Discovery Mot. (filed concurrently).

[snip]

DOJ confirmed its own improper motive when, under fire from Congress and the public, it resorted to a rarely used gun charge that reports indicate Special Counsel Weiss himself admitted would not have been brought against the average American.85

85 Michael S. Schmidt et al., Inside The Collapse Of Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal, N.Y. Times (Aug. 19, 2023), https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/19/us/politics/inside-hunter-biden-plea-deal.html. As noted above, the article does not disclose the source, and to the extent there is any doubt about the veracity of the claim, the Court should grant Mr. Biden’s request for discovery and an evidentiary hearing. See Mr. Biden’s Motion for Discovery and an Evidentiary Hearing (filed concurrently). [my emphasis]

I have repeatedly predicted we’d see this language in Hunter’s selective prosecution motion, because it provides what virtually no defendant ever has: proof that the prosecutor himself recognized he was selectively prosecuting a defendant.

If Lowell can find these witnesses — experts on gun crimes who said Hunter was charged only because he was prominent and a Weiss associate whom Weiss purportedly told he knew that average Americans would not be prosecuted for such crimes –and get them to testify, then he would have what virtually no other defendant would: Proof that the prosecutor who brought the charge knew that similarly situated defendants would not be charged, but charged the defendant anyway.

But I assumed the proof that David Weiss had said that would require witness testimony.

Perhaps it doesn’t.

Consider that the last instance (in this filing) where Lowell relegates a request for discovery and an evidentiary hearing to a footnote, he makes an assertion — that DOJ has long believed that Hunter’s rights must take precedence over efforts by Trump to interfere in this prosecution — that he does not cite.

But as DOJ itself has long believed, Mr. Biden’s rights must come first and efforts by members of Congress and the former President to interfere have tainted this prosecution beyond purification. As a result, there is no constitutional option but to dismiss this case.40

40 If the Court has any doubt that the material set out in this motion is sufficient to warrant outright dismissal of these charges, it should permit discovery and conduct an evidentiary hearing. Mr. Biden has already sought discovery from DOJ and information from third-parties with knowledge of former President Trump’s influence, and DOJ has not responded to the requests and filed an opposition for this information to be disclosed. [my emphasis]

To be sure, we know that David Weiss’ investigative team, led by Lesley Wolf, made repeated efforts — not always successful — to shield the investigative team from Trump’s efforts to interfere.

For example, Tim Thibault told the House Judiciary Committee that one reason he shut down Peter Schweizer as a source was because then-Supervisory Special Agent Joe Gordon reached out, insinuating they already had laptop-based evidence, and said that if a case against Hunter Biden ever went to trial and Hunter’s attorneys found the FD-1023 from Schweizer that the Washington Field Office had shared with the Hunter team, it would give Hunter’s attorneys ammunition.

A And then fast-forward to sometime in October, I received an unsolicited call —

Q Uh-huh.

A — from the supervisor of the Hunter Biden case. I knew him because he had been assigned to Washington Field Office as the case agent.

[snip]

A And I said: Okay. What are your concerns? And basically said: Look, the information isn’t of any value to us, number one. My — I deduced from everything he said that they already had the information —

Q Uh-huh.

A — from some other source, some other channel, maybe not a human source but some other channel. He also said that that person was politically connected —

Q Uh-huh.

A — and partisan in his view and he was concerned about the source being on media platforms.

[snip]

A So I was getting a call from this supervisor. And my — my takeaway was we don’t need your source reporting and also: Why are you sending a file to our — to our case file that we didn’t know about? Right? So Washington Field Office wrote this 1023 and it went to headquarters and it went to Baltimore.

[snip]

A I understand you don’t need the reporting anymore. I understand that if this goes to trial, Hunter Biden’s attorney —

Q Uh-huh?

A — could have some ammunition.

Regarding that very same laptop, Gary Shapley complained to Congress that Weiss’ office had prevented Joseph Ziegler from seeing a report addressing the “quality and completeness of imaged/recovered information from the hard drive.”

Ziegler himself complained that he hadn’t been able to interview Tony Bobulinski — the guy whom Donald Trump personally hosted at an election debate and who subsequently had a clandestine meeting with Trump’s chief of staff — because, prosecutors told him, Bobulinski, “was not viewed as a credible witness.”

In investigative team meetings that occurred after this, I can recall that agents on the investigative team brought up on multiple occasions to the assigned prosecutors that they wanted to do an interview of Bobulinski with the assigned case agents. I can recall being told that they would think about it and then ultimately being told there was no need for the team to interview Bobulinski and that Bobulinski was not viewed as a credible witness.

And Scott Brady not only confirmed Gary Shapley’s claim that Lesley Wolf repeatedly refused to be briefed by Scott Brady’s team because she didn’t want dirt from Rudy Giuliani, but also that David Weiss had to — and did — intervene before Wolf would share information about her investigation with Brady.

Okay. So, looking at paragraph four on page 2, as it continues onto page 2, the second full sentence, it says: The prosecution team discussed the Hunter Biden related work of the Pittsburgh USAO on several occasions, as it was a line item on the recurring prosecution team’s call agenda for a long period of time. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf told us the Pittsburgh USAO and U.S. Attorney Scott Brady requested to brief the Delaware USAO’s Hunter Biden’s investigative team on multiple occasions, but they were turned down by AUSA Wolf and the Delaware USAO. Is it accurate that you had requested multiple times, you or your office, to brief the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office?

A Yes.

[snip]

Chairman Jordan. Got it. Got it. Now, also, based on what you said, throughout the process, you said that the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office wasn’t willing to cooperate, so much so that you had to send interrogatories?

Mr. Brady. Yes, we had conversations, asked for communication and a flow of information, mostly one way from us to them, but also, as I testified, we wanted to make sure we weren’t duplicating what they were doing. They would not engage. And so finally, after me calling Mr. Weiss and saying can you please talk to your team, this is important, this is why we want to interact with them, the response that we got back is you can submit your questions to our team in written form, which we did.

This is an important instance where, at least per Scott Brady, Lesley Wolf was attempting to prevent the politicization of the case, but David Weiss overruled her.

Finally, Shapley also provided documentation of his own complaint that, “This investigation has been hampered and artificially slowed by various claims of potential election meddling.”

There are abundant examples where Lesley Wolf attempted to shield the investigative team from Trump’s efforts to intervene. Lowell cites none of them, nor other public evidence, such as Ziegler’s testimony that there were emails (probably his original supervisor’s memorialization of Trump’s improper influence). Instead, he asserts without citation that DOJ has long believed that Hunter’s rights must come first.

I’m mindful that, in the exhibits accompanying his motion to dismiss because the diversion immunizes Hunter Biden from further charges, Lowell also didn’t include the bulk of documentation that NYT and Politico appear to have relied on for stories about how the plea deal collapsed.

That is, it’s possible that one of the documents that NYT received records someone — possibly Wolf — sharing with Chris Clark the explanation that Weiss really wanted to avoid any charges, even misdemeanors. If Abbe Lowell has that document, he’s playing coy.

Indeed, that’s an important dynamic in the motion for discovery and an evidentiary hearing. In a footnote (footnote six in this post), it purports to support both the selective and vindictive motion and the immunity one.

1 To the extent the Special Counsel disputes the facts laid out in Mr. Biden’s Motion to Dismiss the Indictment Based on Immunity Conferred By His Diversion Agreement and the Declaration of Christoper Clark (his former counsel), filed contemporaneously, as noted in that Motion at Note 1, an evidentiary hearing where all the participants to the negotiations (including U.S. Attorney David Weiss) should be held on that motion as well.

The footnote it cites in the immunity motion (footnote seven) asks Judge Maryanne Noreika, if she needs more proof regarding the immunity conferred by the diversion agreement, to include David Weiss (and “responsible members of his prosecution team,” which would include Wolf) among the witnesses.

If the Court believes that parol evidence should be considered, Mr. Biden requests an evidentiary hearing in which all participants in the negotiation of the Diversion Agreement, including Mr. Weiss and the responsible members of his prosecution team, can be called as witnesses to address the extensive recapitulation provided in Mr. Clark’s Declaration.

Even in the discovery motion, Lowell doesn’t provide a list of things like the one that David Judd’s attorney included in hers.

Instead, he simply points to the October 8 and November 15 discovery requests he already made and describes that Weiss’ team responded with silence.

On October 8, 2023 and November 15, 2023, as well as in follow-up correspondence on November 15, Mr. Biden wrote to the prosecution with tailored and enumerated discovery requests, many of which are routine in a criminal defense case such as this one. 2 The October 8 requests included customary Rule 16 discovery requests and 19 specific requests under Brady, Agurs, Giglio, and the Fifth Amendment, Rule 26/Jencks Act and similar requests. These requests have largely been met with silence and will be the subject of a motion to compel should this case proceed. However, the November 15, 2023 requests as well as the motion for Rule 17 subpoenas filed that same day seek information bearing directly on the issues addressed in the motions to dismiss filed concurrently herewith—selective and vindictive prosecution, political interference, and separation of powers concerns. The prosecution has not responded to or addressed these requests by Mr. Biden in any fashion. During a meet and confer phone call on December 1, 2023, Mr. Biden’s counsel even asked Messrs. Wise and Hines for a status update of the prosecution’s discovery, and specifically whether the government intended to make any additional productions in the near-term or respond to our various discovery request letters, to which Mr. Hines responded that the government would “let the discovery stand for itself.”3 [my emphasis]

The November 15 discovery request is similar to the subpoena request from the same day (which Lowell invokes in footnote 3), though it includes any communications discussing an investigation of Hunter that involve Geoffrey Berman as well.

1. All documents and records reflecting communications from January 20, 2017 to the present (the “Relevant Time Period”) to, from, between, or among Donald J. Trump, William P. Barr, Geoffrey Berman, Scott W. Brady, Richard Donoghue, or Jeffrey A. Rosen relating to or discussing any formal or informal investigation or prosecution of Hunter Biden, or a request thereof.

2. All documents and records reflecting communications from the Relevant Time Period to, from, between, or among Donald J. Trump, William P. Barr, Geoffrey Berman, Scott W. Brady, Richard Donoghue, or Jeffrey A. Rosen and any Executive Branch official, political appointee, Department of Justice official, government agency, government official or staff person, cabinet member, or attorney for President Trump (personal or other) discussing or concerning Hunter Biden.

SDNY investigated both Hunter and James Biden as part of their investigation into Patrick Ho and Gal Luft, so there may be communications between Berman and Weiss on that topic. Berman’s investigation of Lev Parnas would have covered the October 2019 meeting at which Parnas believed he’d receive laptop-based dirt from a Burisma associate. Plus, Berman would have been told to stand down on Rudy Giuliani’s December 5, 2019 meeting with Andrii Derkach, in deference to Richard Donoghue. His book describes that those discussions were quite heated.

The October 8 request is — as Lowell claims — more conventional (at least on its face). It asks for the evidence Weiss has about Hunter’s addiction. It asks for affidavits in support of warrants. And some of that — a request for communications on the drafting of the plea agreement and stats on prosecutions of these gun charges — definitely would support Lowell’s motions to dismiss.

There are unsurprising additions, such as any communications regarding leaks to the press, including through cut-outs (which is how I think the October 6, 2022 leak happened).

Any documents and/or information reflecting communications between anyone in your Office or any member of the investigative team or their supervisors (including FBI and IRS agents) with any member of the press or public concerning the investigation, and any documents and/or information reflecting leaks of information concerning the investigation or prosecution of Mr. Biden to the press, any private person, or any government official or employee who was not authorized to receive such disclosure.

Sure, this likely aims to discover whether Shapley and Ziegler had any role, including through cut-outs, in the leaks in this case. But as I noted in my post on that NYT story, there are several claims in it attributed to a “senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation” who claimed to have knowledge of things only David Weiss would know.

Then there are things that look innocuous, but might be particularly problematic for Weiss. Given my suggestion above that there may be documentation of a claim that Weiss told an associate he didn’t want to charge Hunter at all, a collection of all the communications anyone in his office had with lawyers for Hunter might pose hazards for this prosecution.

Any documents and/or information reflecting communications between anyone in your Office and any attorney representing Mr. Biden from the onset of the investigation to June 20, 2023.

Normally, when someone takes over a case from a prior defense attorney, they usually get the case file from their predecessor. Lowell would be expected to ask Clark for this. But there are at least two other sets of lawyers who would have been involved (including an investigative interview with George Mesires), which would justify this request. Complying with this request would involve Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise seeing communications that David Weiss may have attempted to use him to sheep dip from this prosecution.

Then there’s a request for 302s.

A. Any draft FBI-302s, FD-1023s or interview memoranda describing such interviews.

B. Any requests by investigating agents or members of the Department of Justice to edit, revise, or otherwise change the content of any 302 or interview memorandum

This would include the FD-1023s from Peter Schweizer and the Zlochevsky informant, the 302 from Luft, as well as the draft 302 from Tony Bobulinski (and any record that DOJ intervened to prevent its completion), at least three of which Wolf attempted to keep from investigators.

Weiss may be imaging he can withhold these based on a claim that the gun charge doesn’t implicate these documents pertaining to politicized witnesses, and normally he’d be right. Except Judge Noreika already permitted Jason Smith to file an amicus, including protected grand jury materials, based in part on the argument that this has gotten so much publicity already. Plus, in both Jack Smith’s prosecutions of the former President and the serial treatment of Mike Flynn, there is arguably support for sharing such information (I asked Weiss’ spox if his team would adhere to the discovery approaches in those cases and got no response whatsoever to my question).

Finally, there are communications with Congress.

Any documents and/or information reflecting communications between any Member of Congress, Committee or Subcommittee of Congress, or congressional staff and any person at the U.S. Department of Justice, including your Office, concerning the investigation or prosecution of Mr. Biden, including the decision to bring any particular charges.

This would include the letter, cited in the selective MTD, that Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson sent in 2021 regarding any gun charges against Hunter.

It would include the many letters sent to Merrick Garland.

It would also include the transcripts of the many interviews — including Brady, Thibault, from Lesley Wolf last week, and from Weiss himself — Jim Jordan did. At least some of those were shared with DOJ for an accuracy review. And in Weiss’ transcript, he made a claim that has already been rebutted in Chris Clark’s declaration, in which he described Weiss’ First AUSA saying there was no ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden.

This is an area where the Jack Smith precedent may be pertinent: in a response to Trump’s demand to subpoena Congress (which Lowell doesn’t do), Thomas Windom revealed that Smith shared 260 January 6 Committee transcripts with Trump. Jim Jordan has spent five months quizzing almost every member of the Hunter Biden investigative team about whether there was political interference on this case, which seems to make it relevant for any litigation about Congress’ usurpation of David Weiss’ role.

Normally, none of this would be discoverable and Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise is likely to come back and say it is Jencks, which only will be relevant if these witnesses testify.

As I keep saying, normally none of this goes anywhere. I am assuredly not saying this will work.

What I am trying to lay out is that Lowell is going about via different tactics, in part by arguing this known proof of political interference is Brady (Brady about Brady!), not just evidence of selective prosecution hidden behind 48 invocations of Armstrong.

If Lowell prevails with his argument — his strongest argument, in my opinion — that Hunter is immune from prosecution on the gun charges, none of this may matter (until Lowell makes the same argument in Los Angeles, before a different Trump appointed judge). But once you get into the argument about improper influence on this case, David Weiss might begin to hear footsteps.

John Paul Mac Isaac’s Serial Inaccuracies and the Ablow Laptop

Right wing purveyors of the Hunter Biden “laptop” story say that John Paul Mac Isaac, the legally blind computer repairman who made a copy of a laptop that he said Hunter Biden dropped off, then sent a copy of the data to Rudy Giuliani, was perfectly entitled to do so. They point to the intake form JPMI used, stating that,

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.

In Hunter Biden’s countersuit against JPMI, he noted that Delaware law only deems tangible personal property to be abandoned after a year, and requires some bureaucracy before someone can assert to own the property.

8. Contrary to Mac Isaac’s Repair Authorization form, Delaware law provides that tangible personal property is deemed abandoned when “the rightful owner has left in the care or custody of another person and has failed to maintain, pay for the storage of, exercise dominion or control over, and has failed to otherwise assert or declare the ownership rights to the [] property for a period of 1 year.” (25 Del. C. § 4001) (emphasis added). The procedure to obtain lawful title to abandoned personal property requires the person in possession of the property to file a petition in a court of competent jurisdiction. (25 Del. C. § 4003). Other obligations must then also be satisfied before obtaining lawful title, such as the court sending notice to the owner and the petitioner posting notice in five or more public places, and advertising the petition in a newspaper. (25 Del. C. § 4003(b)). [emphasis original]

The requirements of Delaware law have attracted the most attention amid debates whether JPMI was entitled to share the laptop with Rudy Giuliani.

More important to questions of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act lawsuits like the one Hunter filed against Rudy Giuliani, however, Abbe Lowell notes that JPMI’s intake form promises to “secure [his customers’] data.”

12. Moreover, even if the Repair Authorization form were enforceable under Delaware law, by its own terms, it provides abandonment of only any “equipment” that is left behind at the Mac Shop, and not the data on or embedded within any such equipment. In fact, the Repair Authorization form states that the Mac Shop will make every effort to “secure your data.” (Compl. Ex. A). Customers who sign Mac Isaac’s Repair Authorization form do not, therefore, waive any rights under Delaware law for the data that any equipment might contain. Reputable computer companies and repair people routinely delete personal data contained on devices that are exchanged, left behind, or abandoned. They do not open, copy, and then provide that data to others, as Mac Isaac did here.

13. At no time did Mr. Biden grant Mac Isaac any permission to access, review, copy, or disseminate for his own purposes any electronically stored data that ever was created or received or maintained by Mr. Biden (regardless of how Mac Isaac came into possession of such material). [my emphasis]

Hunter Biden did not, if he indeed signed that intake form, authorize JPMI to grant other people access to his data. Yet JPMI gave it to Rudy who gave it to half the world, including the NY Post, as this illustration from Thomas Fine lays out.

There are multiple theories of CFAA that Abbe Lowell might have in mind as he sues those who’ve disseminated Hunter’s data: I discussed that cracking the password of the iPhone stored on the device or accessing data stored in the cloud might qualify. It’s also possible, however, that Lowell would argue that simply accessing the drive that JPMI shared amounts to unauthorized access, even under JPMI’s own intake form, because he said he would keep the data secure.

Those details will undoubtedly be a part of all the litigation going forward.

But there’s another detail about the intake form that deserves more attention. JPMI didn’t identify the laptops that were dropped off, beyond simply saying they were three MacBook Pros.

JPMI doesn’t claim to have paperwork tying a serial number to any of these three laptops until the FBI put one, for the laptop given to the FBI, on a subpoena in December 2019.

JPMI doens’t claim to have proof that the laptop he would go on to give to the FBI — some of the contents of which he shared with Rudy Giuliani who then shared it with half the world, including the NY Post  — was the laptop he claims someone dropped off on April 12, 2019.

Normally, that would not be a big deal. But, as described in his book, the laptop he gave the FBI does not match any of the three laptops he claims were dropped off on April 12, 2019.

One at a time, I performed a quick inspection of the machines. The fifteen-inch laptop was a complete write-off. It had extensive liquid damage, and because the drive was soldered to the logic board, data recovery was beyond my capability. (If a Mac can’t power on, you won’t be able to access the drive and get to the data.)

The thirteen-inch 2015 MacBook Pro was in slightly better shape. It could boot up, but the keyboard was unresponsive. I pulled out an external keyboard and asked for permission to log in.

[snip]

I moved on to the last Mac, a thirteen-inch 2016 MacBook Pro. The drive was soldered onto the logic board. This one powered on but then would shut down. I suspected that there was a short in the keyboard or trackpad, and if I took it apart, I could at least get it to boot and possibly recover the data.

JPMI described three machines:

  • A 15″ laptop, of unknown date, with soldered drive
  • A 13″ laptop from 2015
  • A 13″ laptop from 2016 with a soldered drive

By description, JPMI claims the last one is the one he gave to the FBI.

Based on the serial number, the laptop turned over to the FBI is a 13-inch 2017 PowerBook purchased in October 2018 (the October 2018 purchase date is consistent when it was added to Hunter’s Apple account).

It can’t be the first laptop described here, because it’s a 13″ PowerBook, but it’s a different year — 2017 rather than 2015 or 2016 — than both the 13″ PowerBooks JPMI described.

The difference in year might be no big deal.

The other description JPMI gives about the laptop he claims to be the one he recovered is: According to several people who’ve checked, the laptop shared with the FBI has a removable hard drive.

The entire reason why JPMI claims to have copied the files in the manner he did — by dragging-and-dropping files — is because he didn’t have ports to plug both a keyboard, power, and a cable to his own server. Instead, he plugged in the server and a keyboard, and did the drag-and-drop in three passes, recharging the battery between each pass.

That’s what, he claims, led him to look at Hunter’s files more closely, starting with dick pics and moving onto an “income” document conveniently marked with a purple dot.

Finally, I went in the back to check on Hunter’s liquid-damaged MacBook Pro. It had powered off, dying overnight during the file transfer. I now realized that this was not going to be a simple drag-and-drop procedure. There was about three hundred gigabytes’ worth of data, but not enough charge in the battery to do it all in one go. I started to charge the unit again, planning to give it a couple of hours before making a second attempt. But I also decided to see what had been successfully transferred to the server, praying I didn’t have to start all over again.

[snip]

I changed the folder view to a columns view, to see the files and folders in an alphabetical list. Clicking on a folder in the list opens up a new column with the contents of the folder, and clicking on a file in that column brings up a preview of the file. Eventually, in two separate windows, I would be able bring up both the original desktop and what I had copied, compare them, and transfer the missing files to the recovery window. But first I had to wait until there was enough of a charge in the battery to power on the Mac and keep it on.

[snip]

Here’s where things started to get interesting.

The previous recovered window was open on the left, and I was waiting for the hundreds of files on the original to populate to the right. Scrolling down, I started to see files that didn’t align. I started to individually drag and drop the files to the recovery folder. It took only a few files before I noticed pornography appearing in the right column.

[snip]

I continued copying files until I got to one titled “income.pdf.” I likely wouldn’t even have noticed it if it hadn’t been tagged with a purple dot. On a Mac, you can apply tags, or color codes, to files as an organizational aid. It seemed odd that someone who clearly had zero organizational skills would bother tagging this one file purple. It was begging to be clicked open. So I did.

But once JPMI realized the battery was draining, he could have simply swapped the hard drive into a separate laptop, with functioning keyboard, to copy the files that way.

Indeed, that seems to be (per Gary Shapley’s notes) what the FBI did: just put the hard drive in a new laptop.

FBI determined in order to do a full forensic review a replacement laptop had to be purchased so the hard drive could be installed, booted and imaged.

[snip]

c. Lesley said (while laughing) that because a lot of p[e]op[l]e are going to be asking for the laptop

d. Josh Wilson stated that (while laughing) so whoever they are they are going to have to buy a laptop to put the hard rive in so they can read it [fixed errors in people]

Once you understand the laptop had a removable drive, then JPMI’s excuse for snooping in Hunter’s private files disappears.

But here’s why I can’t stop thinking about the fact that JPMI has no proof of which laptops he received and the laptop described in his book doesn’t match the one he shared with the FBI. One explanation for this discrepancy is ineptitude: during the entire period he was writing the book, he never even consulted the subpoena (the data for which he had provided the FBI). Another is he needed to invent an excuse, after the fact, to explain why he was reading Hunter’s stuff.

But there’s one other potentially related issue.

There aren’t three laptops. There are at least four.

The fourth is the laptop found at Keith Ablow’s in 2020, the one reportedly discovered after Hunter Biden left in February 2019. That laptop is reportedly one that Hunter first signed onto on September 1, 2018, at 10:34AM PDT, also a 13″ MacBook Pro, but one with a touch bar. The next day, Apple emailed Hunter to tell him he had gotten a new laptop — something that didn’t happen for many of his other new devices (including the one that first accessed his iCloud account in October 2018, the one that would end up with the FBI).

If that’s correct, then Hunter initiated the laptop left at Ablow’s in February 2019 in September 1, 2018. And the laptop ultimately shared with the FBI was initiated on October 21, 2018. Though there were accesses to his iCloud and other accounts from new devices almost every week in this period, there’s no sign at all that the touch bar MacBook (as opposed to one after another iPhone and an iPad) had been lost or inactivated.

And if the activity that packaged up Hunter’s digital life happened on the same laptop that ended up in a computer repair shop in Wilmington, then both would be presumed to be at Ablow’s in the same period in late January to early February. That’s an odd occurrence in the first place, since Hunter was going to get treatment, not to work on his memoir. But it’s also odd that the laptop ultimately shared with the FBI stopped synching on the same day that a laptop — possibly the Ablow one? — was purportedly deleted.

There are two problems with this story. None of the three laptops that JPMI describes receiving is the one shared with the FBI. And there’s not a good explanation for why two Hunter Biden laptops would be at Ablow’s property and why the one presumably in Hunter’s presence would stop synching the same day some other laptop was deleted.

This is all background for another post. But one thing that’s clear is none of the laptops JPMI describes in his book can be the one shared with the FBI. And there’s another laptop out there, which would have been present in the same place and time as the laptop that ultimately was shared with the FBI.

Hunter Biden Twice Alleges that “Laptop” Data was “Stolen” from Him

Amid the shoddy coverage of Hunter Biden’s press conference and the impeachment vote yesterday, a detail got missed.

In both his press conference and in a motion to dismiss submitted Monday, Hunter alleged that “personal information … was stolen from me.”

James Comer, Jim Jordan, Jason Smith, and their colleagues have distorted the facts by cherry picking lines from a bank statement, manipulating texts I sent, editing the testimony of my friends and former business partners, and misstating personal information that was stolen from me. [my emphasis]

Some of the other false statements he accuses the GOP Chairmen of making are readily identifiable. For example, Abbe Lowell has scolded Smith for altering some WhatsApp texts several times. In the same Lowell letter, he complains about a misrepresentation Smith made from Rob Walker’s 302.

But it’s unclear what personal information Hunter is referencing.

In the motion to dismiss for selective and vindictive prosecution, Abbe Lowell is more clear about who — if not what — he’s discussing: It’s Rudy.

And just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, Mr. Giuliani obtained stolen electronic data from Mr. Biden and disseminated its purported contents (as well as manipulating some of it) in an attempt to create a media spectacle and undermine his President Biden’s political campaign. [my emphasis]

This is consistent with — though far stronger than — the allegation made in the lawsuit against Rudy and Robert Costello, that the men hacked his data. Rudy claims to be broke (and could be far broker once the Ruby Freeman jury, which is about to start deliberating, comes back), and is struggling to keep lawyers. Costello is not; I can’t assume Hunter would make this claim if he’s not prepared to back it up.

But if Lowell is alleging that Congress — which, best as I understand it, got a hard drive from “the laptop” from John Paul Mac Isaac — was “misstating personal information that was stolen from me,” it would not implicate Rudy. That version of the hard drive wouldn’t have gone through Rudy. It might implicate the blind computer repairman, though that claim is not part of Hunter’s countersuit of JPMI.

It could implicate the way in which the laptop was packaged up. The latter is where I’ve always suspected the potentially worst theft may have happened, but Hunter’s team has never alleged that publicly.

Whichever it is, Hunter’s evil Doppelganger Rudy has been wailing about “the laptop” at Ruby Freeman’s defamation trial. If Hunter’s team has more certainty about the way in which his data was stolen, that would be significant news.

Update: In the selective and vindictive prosecution motion, Hunter also said the dick pics were unlawfully obtained.

Setting a new low for the standards of decency in Congress, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene used an official Oversight Committee proceeding to gratuitously display blown-up sexually explicit and lewd photos—albeit unlawfully obtained—of Mr. Biden under a guise that fooled no one that her actions had something to do with “legislating.” 14

Garanimals in a SCIF: David Weiss’ Attempt to Sheep Dip Bill Barr’s Hunter Biden Prosecution

On July 11, 2023, David Weiss’ First AUSA Shannon Hanson responded to an inquiry from Judge Maryanne Noreika’s courtroom deputy, Mark Buckson. He wanted to know when “the final versions of the documents” pertaining to the Hunter Biden plea deal would be completed. Hanson responded within five minutes. Before she explained that she didn’t know when they’d have the final documents, but hoped to have them to Judge Noreika by Thursday (so July 13), she described that, “I will be speaking with the team later today (I understand they are in a secure location and cannot readily be contacted at the moment.”

Hanson was describing “the team” — she had cc’ed Delaware AUSA Benjamin Wallace and Baltimore AUSAs Leo Wise and Derek Hines — as something of which she was not a part. And she was describing that team as being in a SCIF.

Hunter Biden’s attorneys included the email with their motion to dismiss based on an argument that the diversion agreement Hunter signed prohibits the indictment charging him with three gun charges. The email shows that the final documents filed with the court on July 20, by Wallace, had just one change from the version submitted on June 8, by Hanson. Wallace explained:

The parties and Probation have agreed to revisions to the diversion agreement to more closely match the conditions of pretrial release that Probation recommended in the pretrial services report issued yesterday.

Hunter’s team submitted it to show that, following the Probation Office’s recommendation of Hunter for diversion on July 19, the parties submitted it as a finished agreement.

This motion makes a strong argument that the government entered into an agreement with Hunter for which he sacrificed his rights — including by allocuting to the facts regarding the gun purchase — and therefore must honor the contractual protections it offered to get Hunter to sacrifice those rights.

Indeed, in a footnote it goes further than that: it argues that because the immunity agreement language was in the gun diversion, all the charges tied to the informations that were before Noreika are barred, including the tax charges filed in California.

7 Although the only charges now before the Court are the gun charges in the prosecution’s lone Indictment of Mr. Biden in this District, Mr. Biden notes that the sweeping immunity of the Diversion Agreement would seem to bar any plausible charge that could be brought against him (including the recently filed tax charges in California). The only charges that are not be barred by the immunity provision are those filed in the pre-existing Informations filed against him in this District. The Diversion Agreement called for the eventual dismissal of the gun charge Information upon the conclusion of the diversion period, but the prosecution already has dismissed it. Although the Plea Agreement was not accepted on the misdemeanor tax charge Information, the prosecution has dismissed that Information as well. Consequently, the Diversion Agreement’s immunity for gun and tax-related charges would bar any similar charge from now being filed. This sweeping immunity may make it difficult for the prosecutors to appease Mr. Trump and the Republican congressmen who have criticized them, but this is the deal that the prosecutors made and it reflects their choice to place the immunity provision in the Diversion Agreement.

I’m less certain that’ll fly, but it’s a hint of where things are headed in California.

That’s what the documents show with regards to the motion to dismiss, which I’ve always said is probably Hunter’s best argument to have the indictment dismissed.

But the documents are as interesting for what they show of David Weiss’ attempt to sheep dip this prosecution — to give it a virgin birth under the direction of now-Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise or, as Joseph Ziegler’s attorney described it when he invited the disgruntled IRS agent to explain how irreplaceable he was, to replace one Garanimal with another.

Mr. Zerbe. I want to make sure — you made one point. I think you need to clarify it for him. He asked if the case is going forward. I think for everybody here, explain though that it’s not just kind of Garanimals where they can swap you in and out. Talk about, you not being on the case, you have to put somebody in new, but kind of how that impacts. I just want you to understand that.

Mr. [Ziegler]. So what’s frustrating — and I think it’s obvious is he removed two of the people who have been challenging and been kind of like this is the — we’re trying to do the right thing, we’re trying to do the right thing. And it was kind of like we got loud enough, and they found an avenue to remove us. I have been told by so many people on this case that we’re where we are today because of my work. It’s 5 years of an investigation. You can’t just pick up that and move it onto someone else. And if they removed all the prosecutors, DOJ Tax, and had a brand-new team, I would understand that completely if that’s the decision that they made. But they just removed us.

Ziegler made that comment on June 1. And he was right, at that point — as he sat in a room making claims about Lesley Wolf’s conduct that documents he himself released almost four months later would substantially debunk — that “they” had not yet “removed all the prosecutors.” But they would, within days.

As Chris Clark described in his declaration describing plea negotiations, that same day, June 1, Lesley Wolf invited Clark to come to the US Attorney’s Office the next day to work on the plea agreement, in part so they could share language with David Weiss in real time.

20. On June 1, 2023, AUSA Wolf sent me an email inviting me to meet at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wilmington on June 2 to work together on the agreements’ specific language and provisions. The idea was for the AUSAs and defense counsel to be in the same room with access to U.S. Attorney Weiss, so that the terms could be worked out. A true and correct copy of AUSA Wolf’s June 1, 2023, email to Chris Clark is attached hereto as Exhibit H.

21. On June 2, 2023, co-counsel Matthew Salerno and I went to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wilmington, where the USAO presented us with its draft of a new Diversion Agreement, along with a draft Plea Agreement. This was the first time that we had seen the USAO’s draft Agreements. Each draft Agreement was accompanied by a broad and lengthy Statement of Facts, each of which had been drafted solely by the USAO in advance of the June 2 meeting. At this meeting, AUSA Wolf expressed the view that it was in Mr. Biden’s interest to have broad Statements of Facts included because the scope of immunity (under Paragraph 15 of the Diversion Agreement) would be tied to the Statements of Facts. The Agreement included a more limited immunity provision than I had discussed with AUSA Wolf or that Mr. Biden would accept. Among the revisions, during or shortly after that June 2 meeting, references to tax liability for years 2016 and 2019 were specifically added to the Plea Agreement’s Statement of Facts.

22. The AUSAs and we took turns working on the specific language of each Agreement—with AUSA Wolf running the changes by Office leadership, including U.S. Attorney Weiss. No final agreement was reached that day, and the meeting concluded with the AUSAs agreeing that the USAO would work on composing acceptable language on an immunity provision.

23. That same evening (Friday June 2), at or around 9:43 PM EST, I emailed AUSA Wolf, copying my co-counsel, and proposed one revision to Paragraph 15 of the Diversion Agreement (the provision governing immunity): that Paragraph 15 provide that “The United States agrees not to criminally prosecute Biden, outside the terms of this Agreement, for any federal crimes arising from the conduct generally described in the attached Statement of Facts (attachment A) and the Statement of Facts attached as Exhibit 1 to the Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed this same day.” (Emphasis added.) In the email, I advised AUSA Wolf that it was “very critical for us” that the Diversion Agreement include “[t]his language or its functional equivalent.” A true and correct copy of Chris Clark’s June 2, 2023, email to AUSA Wolf, copying co-counsel, is attached hereto as Exhibit I. [emphasis original]

Wolf was still on the team when — after Clark spoke with Weiss directly on June 6 about the importance of protecting Hunter from any further legal exposure — she sent Clark new language seemingly addressing Clark’s concerns about the immunity language.

28. After extensive discussion with AUSA Wolf in which she repeatedly stated that U.S. Attorney Weiss was unwilling to revise the language of the Agreement’s immunity provision, I conveyed that if this language could not be revised, we would not have a deal and that it was the most important term in the Agreement that Mr. Biden get finality. Accordingly, I requested to speak directly with U.S. Attorney Weiss, whom I was told was the person deciding the issues of the Agreement. Later that afternoon, on June 6, 2023, I spoke directly with U.S. Attorney Weiss. During that call, I conveyed to U.S. Attorney Weiss that the Agreement’s immunity provision must ensure Mr. Biden that there would be finality and closure of this investigation, as I had conveyed repeatedly to AUSA Wolf during our negotiations. I further conveyed to U.S. Attorney Weiss that this provision was a deal-breaker. I noted that U.S. Attorney Weiss had changed the deal several times heretofore, and that I simply could not have this issue be yet another one which Mr. Biden had to compromise. The U.S. Attorney asked me what the problem was with the proposed language, and I explained that the immunity provision must protect Mr. Biden from any future prosecution by a new U.S. Attorney in a different administration. The U.S. Attorney considered the proposal and stated that he would get back to me promptly.

29. Later that same evening on June 6, 2023, at or around 5:47 PM EST, AUSA Wolf emailed me proposed language for the immunity provision that read: “How about this- The United States agrees not to criminally prosecute Biden, outside of the terms of this Agreement, for any federal crimes encompassed by the attached Statement of Facts (Attachment A) and the Statement of Facts attached as Exhibit 1 to the Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed this same day.” (Emphasis in original.) After speaking with Mr. Biden, I responded to AUSA Wolf that the language she sent me “works” and is suitable for Mr. Biden as well, at which point the Parties had a deal. A true and correct and correct copy of AUSA Wolf’s June 6, 2023, email to Chris Clark is attached hereto as Exhibit K. [all emphasis in Clark’s declaration]

And Wolf was still on the team on June 8, the day when the documents were first filed with the court.

That is, Wolf was still on the team when Jim Jordan and Bill Barr had already intervened in the case.

Wolf was still on the prosecutorial team — and negotiating a plea deal that would have ruled out FARA charges — on June 7.

That’s the same day Weiss sent the first response, to a May 25 letter Jim Jordan sent Merrick Garland about the IRS agents’ complaints of being removed from the investigation. In it, he cited Rod Rosenstein’s explanation to Chuck Grassley in 2018 how congressional interference might politicize an investigation (in that case, the Mueller investigation).

The information sought by the Committee concerns an open matter about which the Department is not at liberty to respond. As then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote in 2018 in response to a request for information from the Honorable Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary:

Congressional inquiries during the pendency of a matter pose an inherent threat to the integrity of the Department’s law enforcement and litigation functions. Such inquiries inescapably create the risk that the public and the courts will perceive undue political and Congressional influence over law enforcement and litigation decision.

[snip]

Weiss might claim that he replaced Wolf with Wise and in the process had Wise reassess the prior prosecutorial decisions. But, given the date of that letter, there was never a moment he had done so before the political pressure started. David Weiss cannot claim he did so before being pressured by Jim Jordan.

And Jordan’s letter wasn’t the only political pressure. On the same day that Weiss said he couldn’t share information — the likes of which Shapley had already started sharing — because it might politicize an ongoing investigation, Bill Barr (one of the people Lowell wants to subpoena) publicly intervened in the case, insisting the FD-1023 recording Mykola Zlochevsky making a new allegation of bribery had been a live investigative lead when it was shared with Weiss in October 2020, the FD-1023 Weiss specifically said he could not address because it was part of an ongoing investigation.

On a day when Lesley Wolf remained on the case, both Jordan and Barr had already intervened. And because there was never a time that Weiss had replaced Wolf with Wise before the political pressure started, there was little time he had done so before the physical threats followed the political pressure.

But June 8 — the day the plea deal first got shared with the court — was the last day that Lesley Wolf shows up in Clark’s timeline.

She wasn’t removed for misconduct. In his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Weiss agreed that Wolf, “did her work on the Hunter Biden matter in a professional and unbiased manner without partisan or political considerations.” He said,

I believe she did. As I said, she served the Department for more than 16 years, and I believe her to be a prosecutor with integrity.

But per Michael Batdorf, she was, nevertheless, replaced.

On June 19, Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise made his first appearance. Joseph Ziegler, a disgruntled IRS agent spreading false hearsay claims, succeeded in getting Wolf replaced.

That same day, June 19, Hanson requested that Clark modify the statement he was going to release. But, in a phone call, she told him that there was no pending investigation against Hunter Biden.

35. On June 19, 2023, at 2:53 PM EST, after I had a phone call with AUSA Hanson indicating I would do so, I emailed AUSA Hanson a proposed press statement to accompany the public release of both Informations that read, in part, “I can confirm that the five-year long, extensive federal investigation into my client, Hunter Biden, has been concluded through agreements with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware.” (Emphases added.) A true and correct copy of Chris Clark’s June 19, 2023, email to AUSA Hanson is attached hereto as Exhibit P.

36. Shortly after that email, I had another phone call with AUSA Hanson, during which AUSA Hanson requested that the language of Mr. Biden’s press statement be slightly revised. She proposed saying that the investigation would be “resolved” rather than “concluded.” I then asked her directly whether there was any other open or pending investigation of Mr. Biden overseen by the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, and she responded there was not another open or pending investigation. Thereafter, at 4:18 PM EST that day, I sent AUSA Hanson a revised statement that read: “With the announcement of two agreements between my client, Hunter Biden, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, it is my understanding that the five-year investigation into Hunter is resolved.” (Emphases added.) The new statement revised the language from “concluded” to “resolved,” a stylistic change that meant the same thing. A true and correct copy of Chris Clark’s June 19, 2023, email to AUSA Hanson is attached hereto as Exhibit Q [Clark’s italics, my bold]

I hope to hell Clark has notes of that conversation, because the assertion that there was no pending investigation of Hunter Biden on June 19 directly conflicts with a claim that David Weiss made to the House Judiciary Committee.

On November 7, David Weiss repeated a claim his office made when they first announced the deal: that it was ongoing. “I can say that at no time was it coming to a close,” Weiss told the House Judiciary Committee. “I think, as I stated in the one statement I made at the time … the investigation was continuing. So it wasn’t ending there in any event.”

That is, Weiss’ First AUSA, Shannon Hanson, allegedly told Clark something that directly conflicts with something Weiss said to Congress.

That may be why Abbe Lowell, while arguing that no hearing is necessary to dismiss the indictment based on the contract that existed between the government and Hunter Biden, said that if Judge Noreika thinks she does need a hearing, then to please have David Weiss prepared to testify as a witness.

If the Court believes that parol evidence should be considered, Mr. Biden requests an evidentiary hearing in which all participants in the negotiation of the Diversion Agreement, including Mr. Weiss and the responsible members of his prosecution team, can be called as witnesses to address the extensive recapitulation provided in Mr. Clark’s Declaration.

It’s going to be a lot harder for Weiss to claim that US Attorneys-turned-Special Counsels can’t testify when he was willing to testify to Congress.

This is undoubtedly why Lowell asked to be able to subpoena Bill Barr’s communications, through the present, about the Hunter Biden investigation — a version of which he made in formal discovery as well (Lowell also noted Barr’s recent comments on the investigation in the selective and vindictive prosecution MTD). Because Bill Barr intervened in this case before such time as Wolf was apparently removed and replaced by Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise. Barr intervened publicly, and given Wise’s concerns about DOJ materials in the possession of former DOJ employees in his response to that subpoena request, it seems acutely likely that Weiss recognizes that Barr intervened in a way that shared privileged information.

Likewise, specific regulations govern the disclosure of DOJ materials in the possession of former DOJ employees, and the government is unable to assess the applicability or propriety of disclosure without identification of the specific documents. See 28 C.F.R. § 16.26 (outlining considerations governing appropriateness of disclosure); see generally 28 C.F.R. pt. 16, subpt. B (proscribing Touhy regulations for disclosure of official materials, including those held by former DOJ employees); United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951). Only once those materials are specifically identified can the government assess the appropriateness of disclosure, including whether such materials are privileged

Worse still, per Weiss’ testimony in November, this effort to mine the investigation into Mykola Zlochevsky that Barr personally orchestrated remains ongoing — or remained ongoing until such time, CNN recently reported, as it closed the investigation into Zlochevsky’s changed statements about the Bidens around the same time DOJ’s criminal investigation into him was closed down by Bill Barr’s DOJ.

When Steve Castor asked about the FD-1023 that, per Chuck Grassley, was the result of Scott Brady’s effort to mine the recently closed Zlochevsky investigation, David Weiss responded that it was part of an ongoing investigation.

Q Are you familiar — let’s mark this as the next exhibit — with an FD-1023 dated June 30, 2020, summarizing a confidential human sources meeting with Burisma executives during which they discussed bribes allegedly paid to Joe Biden and Hunter Biden?

A I’m sorry. What was your question about this document?

Q Are you familiar with this?

A I’m not going to comment on that. I appreciate your question, but it concerns a matter that is subject to an outstanding investigation. It’s something that I absolutely cannot comment on either way. [my emphasis]

This is why I’m interested in Hanson’s description that “the team” was in the SCIF on July 11. Wise and Hynes are — or were, until getting their big promotion to Senior Assistant Special Counsels — Baltimore AUSAs. There’s no reason for them to be in SCIF together with Wallace except on the Hunter Biden case. There is no conceivable classified information in the two Hunter Biden indictments (one, two).

But on July 10 — the day before Hanson said “the team” was in a SCIF — Weiss told Lindsey Graham that the FD-1023 was part of an ongoing investigation. And on November 7, Weiss told Steve Castor that it was part of an ongoing investigation.

And the possibility of a FARA charge is what Leo Wise used on July 26 to blow up an investigation that — as of June 19 — was done.

There is a good deal of reason to believe that David Weiss used the effort Bill Barr set up four years ago to launder dirt from Russian spies into the Hunter Biden investigation as an excuse, after private citizen Barr had intervened in this investigation, to reopen the investigation after Republicans demanded it.


Documents

Motion to dismiss because the diversion agreement prohibits the gun charges

What Might Happen If Hunter Biden Refuses to Testify (Behind Closed Doors)

Update: Hunter did, as I supposed here, show up in DC only to make a public statement

Because a dumbass Congressman from Kentucky has not told Hill journalists what was in Hunter Biden’s motions to dismiss the other day, at least some of them have no conceivable way of knowing what’s in there, much less the specifics.

As I noted, along with the selective prosecution claim that Katy Tur was sure was the totality of it and the vindictive prosecution that was also obvious, Abbe Lowell also argued that the House GOP has usurped DOJ’s prosecutorial authority and effectively forced David Weiss to charge Hunter Biden with 6 felonies.

No one appears to know whether Hunter Biden will show up for his scheduled 9:30 deposition today, and if he does, whether he’ll do the thing virtually all defense attorneys would advise — to simply invoke the Fifth — or whether he’ll just refuse to answer questions unless a live camera is rolling. But if he does anything but invoke the Fifth, that separation of powers claim is going to take on vastly new significance.

Before I explain why, let me first talk about some wild coincidences. First, Hunter filed the motions to dismiss on Monday, two days before this subpoena, based off a requested schedule change Abbe Lowell made on October 13 and Judge Maryanne Noreika approved on October 19. James Comer sent Hunter the subpoena, setting today’s date and time, back on November 8. According to reports, only in recent weeks have Comer and Jim Jordan and Speaker Mike Johnson decided they’ll hold the vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry that is one of two bases on which Comer issued the subpoena to Hunter this afternoon — after the scheduled time for the deposition that has been scheduled for over a month. And the suit that resulted, yesterday, in NY’s top court issuing an order for redistricting by February was first filed on June 28, 2022; Dave Wasserman says the decision could endanger the seats of five GOP Congressmen, as well as flipping the seat recently vacated by George Santos.

Abbe Lowell didn’t mastermind those coincidences. In fact, Speaker Mike was the one who made the only recent decision: to schedule the impeachment inquiry vote that would give more legal authority for the subpoena issued to Hunter on November 8, for after the scheduled Hunter deposition. On December 6 — the day after Speaker Mike decided to schedule an impeachment inquiry vote — Comer and Jordan sent a letter threatening to initiate contempt proceedings, “If Mr. Biden does not appear for his deposition on December 13.” But Congress is scheduled to leave town tomorrow and this Congress claims to have a rule that members get notice before any votes.

Republicans say they have the votes to approve the inquiry. Maybe they do! Maybe they still do after the redistricting decision! If that’s right, it’ll be one of the only votes the GOP has managed to pass in the entire year of their majority without Democratic votes. Quite literally, the only thing the GOP would have accomplished in a year would be to start an impeachment inquiry that virtually all sentient beings admit is based on no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden.

But if Hunter Biden does anything but plead the Fifth (or testify), that impeachment vote will have been cast after Comer refused what he offered a few weeks ago: an offer for Hunter to testify publicly.

Similarly, a contempt vote — a second contentious vote for those five NY Congressmen and others in Biden districts — would be held after Comer refused what he has boisterously said was sufficient: public testimony. It’ll come from Jim Jordan, not exactly the model for principled use of contempt to enforce Congressional subpoenas. Even so, Trump will exert a great deal of pressure to pass a contempt vote, even on those five NY Congressmen facing an even tougher reelect battle. Let’s assume it passes! All that would make still more clear that this Congress only exists to serve the beck and call of Donald Trump, not Members’ constituents.

If the House held Hunter Biden in contempt, Merrick Garland’s DOJ would likely do what he always does: give it to a Special Counsel. And there’s already a Special Counsel prosecuting closely related issues. Doing anything but giving it to David Weiss would signal all sorts of confidence or legitimacy problems with his authority, even if they’re merited.

If David Weiss were to receive a contempt referral from the House, he’d be looking at what might be a clearcut case of contempt (particularly if Hunter simply doesn’t show up). Based on the Steve Bannon precedent, there’d be a great deal of pressure to charge Hunter Biden with contempt. But that would result in Weiss doing precisely what Hunter’s motion to dismiss accuses him of already: prosecuting him because Congress demanded he do so, prosecuting him to show up for an inquiry that has, over and over, made claims — mostly unsubstantiated — about crimes Hunter allegedly committed. As the motion to dismiss described it,

Many members of Congress, including the last Speaker of the House, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and the Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee are actively interfering with DOJ’s investigation, using their authority to pressure and malign DOJ, and using congressional committees limited to investigating government agencies to conduct a criminal investigation of private conduct by a private citizen— one they are conducting based on a publicly stated presumption of guilt.

On its face, contempt would be justified. Except Congress has not hidden their belief that they are pursuing — this deposition was meant to investigate — crimes they imagine Hunter Biden committed.

Venue would be in DC. And while blowing off a subpoena might be an easy question for a DC jury (it was in the Bannon and Peter Navarro cases), in his communications with Congress, Lowell has established that:

  • He offered to cooperate starting in February
  • He repeatedly raised false claims Congress had made about Hunter
  • Hunter offered to testify in public, which Comer offered then retracted

And that’s before you consider that the subpoena was issued prior to an impeachment resolution, but any contempt trial would happen after an impeachment resolution would have made it clear that this always was about impeachment.

I don’t know how this turns out today. But there’s a distinct possibility that it will result in demonstrating precisely what Abbe Lowell has laid out in one of his motions to dismiss. There’s a distinct possibility that the actions Comer and Jordan take today will provide yet more evidence Hunter will use to argue that the entire case must be dismissed.

I’m not saying it’ll work! I am laying out the dynamic exacerbated by a bunch of coincidences that even Abbe Lowell couldn’t have planned.

In Motion to Dismiss, Hunter Biden Accuses House GOP of Separation of Powers Violation

It’ll take me a few days to get through the pile of motions to dismiss Hunter Biden filed yesteday.

As I noted, I think the challenge to his gun charges based on a claim that the diversion agreement remains valid is strong. I think both the challenge to the constitutionality of the gun charge and the challenge to David Weiss’ appointment are designed to create appealable issues — I really hate the appointment challenge, but Republicans might love it. While strong, the selective and vindictive prosecution motion likely still isn’t strong enough to get by the near-impossible standard set for such things.

While I suspected we’d see some version of all of those (I expected a different challenge to Weiss’ Special Counsel appointment, given that he has admitted no political officers have or are supervising him), there’s something I didn’t expect, at least not in this form: a claim, as part of the selective and vindictive prosecution claim, that Congress has impermissibly usurped DOJ’s role in Hunter Biden’s prosecution.

Altogether, between two or three different passages, the filing spends over ten pages (of almost 70) cataloging House GOP interference (footnotes omitted):

Republican Members of Congress were quick to take credit for sabotaging Mr. Weiss’s proposed Plea Agreement, celebrating the end of the deal as their doing. House Oversight Committee Chairman Comer declared outside the Capitol: “I think that you’re seeing our investigation that’s shined a light on the many wrongdoings of the Biden family has picked up a lot of credibility today, because now we see that there are a lot of crimes that this family’s committed and that played out in court today.”29 Chairman Smith told Fox News that afternoon “justice has been served,”30 and later said: “Announcement of a special counsel only happened because congressional GOP exposed the two-tiered judicial system by shining light onto the investigation into Hunter Biden’s alleged financial crimes & the political interference that shielded both him & POTUS from scrutiny.”31 See infra Section I.A. (discussing congressional admissions of interference with DOJ). And now these same Republican leaders are praising the new tax charges that were just piled on in California (years after DOJ had the relevant facts and after it agreed to resolve them with a plea to misdemeanor offenses), while simultaneously criticizing them as an effort to “protect” Mr. Biden and demanding even more charges.32

In other words, these officials have (1) accused DOJ of trying to protect Mr. Biden by resisting calls to investigate him based on baseless accusations in the first place, (2) criticized DOJ for declining to charge him with a crime for which no similarly situated person would be charged, (3) claimed credit for Mr. Weiss caving to their pressure and forcing Mr. Biden to enter a Plea Agreement he should never have had to consider, (4) claiming credit for Mr. Weiss subsequently yielding to their pressure and scrapping that plea deal, (5) boasting that the appointment of a Special Counsel (which those officials had demanded for years) was their doing , and (6) declaring they were the cause for Mr. Weiss now bringing misdemeanor and felony tax charges DOJ had not believed were warranted until they intervened. This ludicrous and shameless behavior would be comical if it were not so deeply unfair to Mr. Biden, embarrassing to the country, and offensive to the concept of justice. It is overwhelmingly clear that nothing the Justice Department could charge Mr. Biden with, no matter how unjustified, would satisfy these officials, which is no surprise given that their real objective is to attack the President and the Democratic Party before an election. 33

In sum, politicians and public officials at war with their political rivals are flouting separation of powers to intentionally interfere with the Executive Branch’s handling of this case, and the casualties are Mr. Biden’s constitutional rights, any objective appearance of fairness, and public confidence in the justice system. DOJ is responsible for preventing this, but the agency was bullied into investigating Mr. Biden in the first place and now everything the agency does (or does not to) earns it condemnation and reprisal.

Relying on a losing effort to make a similar argument, Abbe Lowell argued that the things that decision said would amount to a separation of powers violation exists here.

Here, however, the scale tips the other way. A lone congressman is not just cajoling and exhorting. Many members of Congress, including the last Speaker of the House, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and the Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee are actively interfering with DOJ’s investigation, using their authority to pressure and malign DOJ, and using congressional committees limited to investigating government agencies to conduct a criminal investigation of private conduct by a private citizen— one they are conducting based on a publicly stated presumption of guilt. They have gone as far as releasing agents’ entire investigative file during the investigation. Their actions have overcome Special Counsel Weiss’s independent judgment, causing him to abandon the very resolution of this case that he proposed prior to their pressure. As noted above, these Republican House Members have publicly claimed credit for causing Special Counsel Weiss to cave under their pressure. See supra Section IV (discussing congressional interference).105 There was no such evidence in Mardis.

[snip]

Congress has intruded on the executive function to an extent that only dismissal of these charges can cure, and DOJ has abdicated its responsibility and pledge to prevent it from doing so. The Court should not hesitate to step in and safeguard Mr. Biden’s rights, the independence of purity of government, and the integrity of the justice system.

105 Because the Congress and DOJ are both part of the United States Government which prosecutes a criminal defendant, there is “no difference between prejudicial publicity instigated by the United States through its executive arm and prejudicial publicity instigated by the United States through its legislative arm.” Delaney v. United States, 199 F.2d 107, 114 (1st Cir. 1952). “Pretrial publicity originating in Congress, therefore, can be attributed to the Government as a whole and can require postponement or other modification of the prosecution on due process grounds.” 10 Opinions Of The Office Of Legal Counsel Of The United States Department Of Justice 77 (1993) (April 28, 1986, Statement of Charles J. Cooper, Deputy Asst. Att’y Gen., Off. of Legal Counsel).

As always, the chances any of this works are really slim. And given how Judge Maryanne Noreika dealt with an amicus filing that Jason Smith submitted (mentioned in the brief), I doubt she’ll look too kindly on the argument.

Some of this is absolutely correct: Trump can be gagged to ensure a fair trial process. Yet not only aren’t Congress parties to these prosecutions (so they couldn’t be gagged), but under Speech and Debate, there’s almost no way that a judge could silence them.

But there is similarly a real risk that Hunter Biden could never get a fair trial, because the GOP has generated a non-stop media blitz claiming he is guilty of things for which there’s not a shred of evidence.

It will take months for this to be resolved. But it bears notice, the day before Hunter is due to appear for a subpoena, that it’s a key part of the argument here.

Hunter Biden’s Motions to Dismiss

I’m going to post them all here, then will circle back to discuss the most interesting ones:

The diversion agreement prohibits the gun charges

The gun crime is unconstitutional

David Weiss was ineligible to be appointed Special Counsel

Selective and vindictive prosecution

Motion for evidentiary hearing

Submitted December 12:

Reply motion for subpoenas

My general impression of this — which I’ll write at length tomorrow is that the diversion agreement argument is strong, they’ve argued a novel separation of powers argument about Congress. But I don’t think they’ve gotten to where they need to on selective and vindictive.

I don’t the Special Counsel argument is persuasive at all, though it’s an example where Lowell might get Congress to grasp on the filing (which argues Weiss’ appointment violates the Appropriation Clause).

The August 13 Venmo Charge David Weiss Claimed Was an August 14 Charge

My very first attempt to fact check one of the claims David Weiss made in the tax indictment of Hunter Biden the other day found what is almost certainly an error — and that’s before other reliability problems with the claims Weiss will face if this ever goes to trial.

But first, I probably owe Hunter Biden (and Katie Dodge, his long-suffering personal assistant during the period of his worst addiction) an apology.

In the indictment, Weiss included this eye-popping table that — he claims — captures Hunter’s spending in the years he charged.

There’s a conceptual problem with the table in any case. He’s showing the years for which he charged Hunter for — at a minimum — not paying his taxes. And while it’s true that if you’re self-employed you’re supposed to make estimated payments during the tax year, many many many people do not. Not paying usually only becomes a problem in the following year, when the taxes are due. Hunter’s alleged crimes occurred starting in 2017, not 2016.

So Weiss should show the income and expenses Hunter had in the following years — the years in which Hunter was legally obligated to pay the taxes. But if Weiss had shifted this table by one year, to show what Hunter was spending out-of-pocket in 2020, he would have had to reveal that in the year Hunter tried to clean up the wreck that he had made of his life in the past four years, he really didn’t have the income to pay those taxes. Weiss makes much of the fact that Kevin Morris paid for certain things in 2020 (probably including alimony and child support), some of that — possibly including the house in Venice where, in a recent podcast with Moby, Hunter describes he was hiding out from right wing mobs ginned up by Fox News — may not have been cash.

The reason I owe an apology, however, is that I assumed that the category, “Payments — Various Women,” meant those were sex workers.

To take this to trial, Hunter Biden has to be willing to let a paparazzi press spend valuable campaign reporting time on how a person can spend $383,548 on sex workers and $100,330 on adult entertainment in one year, 2018. It risks making the 2024 campaign precisely what Rudy Giuliani intended the 2020 one to be.

Then I started thinking about the way Hunter paid actual sex workers — often by Venmo or bank transfer and sometimes even by check — and I realized at least some of that would be captured in an even bigger number (which undoubtedly also reflects drug purchases) of ATM withdrawals: $772,548.

Then it occurred that that “payments — various women” may include to the four women Hunter paid from Owasco funds in 2018, including Dodge, Lunden Roberts, and these two people (who are not otherwise included in the table):

b. Person 2 is someone with whom the Defendant had a romantic relationship and who did no work, nor was she expected to do any work for Owasco, PC. The Defendant placed Person 2 on payroll in Spring 2018 in order to provide her with health insurance. In addition to health insurance, Person 2 received $11,000 in wages, which the Defendant falsely claimed as a business deduction reducing the income to him from Owasco, PC and his individual income taxes.

c. The Defendant placed Person 3 on payroll in spring 2018. Person 3 was a family member of Person 2’s. Person 3 received $11,000 in wages which the Defendant falsely claimed as a business deduction reducing the income to him from Owasco, PC and his individual income taxes. Prior to being placed on payroll, Person 3 had assisted the Defendant with personal errands and some light clerical work. After being placed on payroll, Person 3 did not perform any work-related services.

As I mentioned, Dodge worked her ass off in this period trying to keep Hunter afloat, including contacts with Burisma. I can imagine that an accountant would advise that treating her as payroll was perfectly acceptable. Yet if I’m right about how Weiss allocated this spending, he has insinuated by referring to this category by gender that Dodge, along with the others, was just a sex worker — exacerbating Joseph Ziegler’s labeling of Roberts as a prostitute in his House Ways and Means testimony.

Plus, if you had a personal assistant category, there should be one for the male Keith Ablow associate who in 2019 declared himself Hunter’s Chief of Staff, asked for income twice what Dodge was getting, and at least attempted to take over Hunter’s life, bank accounts, and rolodex. But he’s male and looking too closely at what he was doing when Hunter Biden’s digital life was packed up on a laptop that would eventually make its way to the FBI would raise a lot of questions and so … he doesn’t obviously appear here.

Then there are what Weiss has billed as ATM/Cash Withdrawals, that $772,548 figure. I’m virtually certain that’s wrong and also misnamed. It’s misnamed because we can see Hunter’s ATM withdrawals from Wells Fargo in publicly released data, and while there are days when he was obviously standing outside of an ATM making four $300 withdrawals in a row, that didn’t happen every day. It’s wrong because the credit card payments are almost certainly vastly higher than the curiously round $12,000. And it’s wrong or misnamed because a lot of that would be bank transfers and other kinds of payment, like Uber or Venmo.

Which brings me to the very first expense included in the indictment that I checked (there is at least one other to which I’ll return): a $1,500 Venmo payment to an exotic dancer, which Weiss described this way:

A $1,500 Venmo payment on August 14, 2018. That payment was to an exotic dancer, at a strip club. The Defendant described the payment in the Venmo transaction as for “artwork.” The exotic dancer had not sold him any artwork.

Per files available at BidenLaptopEmails dot com, here’s what that Venmo charge looks like:

Not only is there no way for someone who made this payment in the depths of his addiction to recognize, over a year later, that this woman is an exotic dancer, but Weiss got the date wrong. Venmo records the payment as being made on August 13, 2018 (though the payment may have cleared the next day).

Sure, getting a date wrong by one day in an indictment charging three felonies for making errors on paperwork is not that big of a problem — good enough for government work, they say.

Except it actually is a big deal that Weiss got that date wrong.

The reason I was immediately interested in that payment is because it occurred just days after the day, August 6, 2018, when someone or someones added two new remembered devices to Hunter’s Venmo account 12 minutes apart.

The thing is, it’s distinctly probable that at least one of the devices added to Hunter’s Venmo account was not added by Hunter. That’s because one of those newly added devices — an iPhone added at 15:26 — was located in Flintridge, CA, the foothills north of Pasadena. The other of those newly added devices — also an iPhone, the one added at 15:38 — was located near Las Vegas. According to Gus Dimitrelos’ report, Hunter hadn’t added a new iPhone to his Apple account for months — not since January 21, 2018.

Hunter was doing some crazy things at that point in his life, but getting from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 12 minutes was probably beyond even the craziest driving; even commercial flights take over an hour.

This is precisely the phone metadata that, I noted, should have led law enforcement officers looking closely, as the IRS has been doing ever since 2018, to raise alarms about whether Joe Biden’s son, at a time when he was obviously hanging out with sex workers and drug dealers, was also having his digital life taken over.

The problem with indicting Hunter Biden for things that were paid through his devices is that — as the same book that Weiss uses to validate the fact that Hunter didn’t work at all in 2018 describes — often, after he engaged in a transaction with some other addict, his watch or jacket or iPad disappeared.

Somebody would eventually come over to my room to sell me something directly, or pass along a connection, for a finder’s fee. When we finished the transaction, the addict was usually out the door before I realized I was missing my watch or jacket or iPad—happened all the time.

“Happened all the time.”

If Hunter’s devices walked away “all the time,” then any payment made through them — certainly any payment made immediately after his Venmo account added two new remembered devices in two different cities 12 minutes apart — would have to be validated individually, to make sure someone else wasn’t making the payment, or at least to make sure Hunter didn’t think he was paying $500 for something but instead getting charged $3,000, which if he remembered it years later he would remember as something else.

“Happened all the time,” I can imagine.

But if you validate an individual Venmo payment adequately enough to be sure Hunter actually paid for it and entered the transaction category as “artwork” himself, then you’re going to get the date right.

And on this payment, in an indictment charging a three felonies for false filings to the Federal government, David Weiss didn’t get the date right.

Update: I have asked both David Weiss’ spox and Abbe Lowell whether they have clarity about the actual date of this payment. I have gotten no response from Lowell and Weiss’ spox has not yet gotten back to me with an answer.

Update: Weiss’ spox “decline[d] to comment beyond the indictment.”

Hunter Biden Accused Rudy Giuliani of Hacking His Data, Not Defamation

Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss’ civil trial against Rudy Giuliani goes to trial tomorrow.

In a number of the scene setters for the trial, people are making claims like this:

In addition to his criminal charges, disbarment proceedings and the lawsuit brought by Freeman and Moss, Giuliani has been sued by various other individuals — including President Joe Biden’s son Hunter — who claim he spread false allegations about them in 2020.

Or this:

He and one of his lawyers are being sued by Hunter Biden for allegedly mishandling the presidential son’s laptop,

Hunter Biden is not suing Robert Costello and Rudy Giuliani for defamation. He’s not suing Robert Costello and Rudy Giuliani for mishandling “his laptop,” which (even if John Paul Mac Isaac and Rudy Giuliani have told the truth about everything) would never have been in Rudy’s possession.

Hunter Biden is suing the former President’s former personal lawyer and that lawyer’s former personal lawyer for hacking his data. Hunter Biden is suing Rudy for violating the criminal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: for accessing a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access.

41. Defendants have violated the CFAA, specifically section 1030(a)(2)(C) of
the CFAA, by intentionally accessing a computer without authorization or exceeding
authorized access, and thereby obtaining information from any protected computer
which, pursuant to the CFAA, is a computer used in or affecting interstate commerce
or communication.

42. Defendants have violated the CFAA, specifically section 1030(a)(4) of the
CFAA, by knowingly and with intent to defraud, accessing a protected computer
without authorization or exceeding authorized access, and by means of such conduct
furthering the intended fraud and obtaining one or more things of value.

We will have to wait to see whether he can prove that claim. But particularly given that Hunter has since been charged with 12 criminal charges by a US Attorney appointed by Trump, let’s be clear what the claim is.

Hunter Biden has accused Rudy Giuliani of violating the criminal hacking statute.

One reason people make this mistake all the time — on top of the non-stop Fox News propaganda about this — is they think of the laptop like this:

The laptop, as it was brought to John Paul Mac Isaac’s shop, is better thought of like this.

There were dick pics on the laptop (I’m using artistic license in my choice of dick pics).

There were emails, including emails hosted by Google and emails tied to Hunter Biden’s iCloud account. But the laptop also included on it the means to get into Hunter’s iCloud account and at least some of his Google accounts.

There were other digital keys on the laptop and probably enough bank data to get into financial accounts.

And there was the contents of an iPhone, stored in encrypted form. As I’ve described, I first went down this rabbit hole — the entire Hunter Biden rabbit hole — when I read Gary Shapley’s description that the FBI needed a password to access some of the content, the content from the phone, on what was an actual laptop. That’s when I realized that anyone who accessed the encrypted contents of that phone without a warrant might be at risk for CFAA charges.

Several of the people who’ve been offering up Hunter Biden data confess, openly, that they broke the encryption on that phone.

In other words, no matter how all that stuff got put onto Hunter’s laptop, and no matter how it got brought to John Paul Mac Isaac’s shop, and no matter whether JPMI was perfectly in his legal rights to take possession of the laptop itself — all things that are very much contested — the laptop included the means to get into other data, data hosted in the cloud, to which neither JPMI nor anyone else had authorized access.

And then the blind computer repair man, after having chosen to copy that hard drive that, contrary to his claims was a removable hard drive, by cutting and pasting it and reading it along the way, packaged that all up on a hard drive and sent it, without Hunter’s consent, to the then-President’s lawyer.

We don’t know what kind of hard drive JPMI used — he said he constructed his own, to make it untraceable.

Instead of buying external drives from a local store, where the purchase might be traced back to me, or online, which also could be traced and moreover might lead to damage in transit, I built my own.

It took about a week to collect all the pieces and clone the drive from the store’s backup server. In essence, I created a copy that was as close to the original drive as possible.

As I have shown, at a time when Rudy says he (or Robert Costello) were in possession of that hard drive that had on it means to access several of Hunter’s cloud accounts, an email Hunter sent in 2016 was resent, showing some alterations.

Hunter Biden is not accusing Rudy Giuliani of saying things about him that aren’t true. Hunter Biden is accusing Rudy Giuliani of accessing data — whether on a hard drive copied from a laptop or in the cloud — to which he did not have legal access.

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