The Hunter Biden Laptop: Two CARTs before the Horse

According to the property receipt that has been posted publicly (but not, as far as I know, been made available as separate PDF), FBI Special Agent Josh Wilson signed the receipt for a hard drive and laptop obtained from John Paul Mac Isaac. The date is obscure, but consistent with receipt on December 9, 2019.

The admittedly inconsistently dark case file on that form, as right wing frothers never tire of pointing out, is a money laundering case file, 272D-BA-3065729.

According to the warrant return I liberated this week, on December 13, 2019, Josh Wilson received the hard drive and laptop again. He received the laptop not from an evidence locker, where it might normally go while an agent gets Office of Enforcement Operations approval and then gets a warrant from a magistrate judge, but from a Computer Analysis Response Team (CART) Computer Analyst named Mike Waski.

The warrant I liberated is not for money laundering. The only crimes listed on Attachment B are tax crimes: 26 USC 7201, 26 USC 7203, and 26 USC 7206(1).

According to the notes Gary Shapley took after it became clear that, after sharing the laptop with the FBI, John Paul Mac Isaac shared a copy with Rudy Giuliani, after Josh Wilson took possession of the hard drive and laptop (a second time), the hard drive, at least, went back to CART — this time, a CART Agent named Eric Overly.

In spite of the fact that Shapley made these notes in order to explain precisely what happened with the laptop, Shapley doesn’t mention where the laptop was between December 9, 2019, when Josh Wilson took possession from JPMI and December 13, 2019, when Josh Wilson took possession again.

Joseph Ziegler returned the warrant on January 30, 2020. But it wasn’t until March before the FBI got an image of the laptop (though this may have been after a filter team review). Josh Wilson got that personally, too.

Putting two carts before the horse is not normal, here. When the FBI accepts a laptop, even if it is being used in multiple investigations, they image it once and then — as ultimately happened here, probably multiple times — they obtain new warrants for the same device, first for the tax investigation, then for a FARA investigation, and finally, 81 days after indicting the President’s son for gun crimes, for a gun investigation.

But this laptop, Hunter Biden’s laptop, went from the blind computer repairman to Josh Wilson to CART to Josh Wilson and then back to CART.

I currently have theories why that happened. But no answers.

I’ve asked David Weiss’ spox for clarification about zscoreUSA’s observation: why the caption for the warrant obtained last month lists a different device serial number for the laptop:

Then the laptop for the actual laptop obtained from JPMI, which is what appears in the Attachments that were only released pursuant to Judge Maryellen Noreika’s orders after I made some follow-up calls.

The serial numbers are just off by two characters:


David Weiss’ spox hasn’t acknowledged that inquiry. This could be a typo or, as was suggested, FBI Agent Boyd Pritchard may have used the serial number for a laptop into which (as Shapley described) FBI dropped the removable hard drive from the laptop obtained from JPMI. In that case, it would normally note that the laptop contained the hard drive liberated from a prior laptop.

Perhaps all this will get sorted if and when Abbe Lowell makes good on his promised suppression motion. But until then, I only have theories, not answers.