Twitter is facing a defamation lawsuit filed by the show owner involved in Hunter Biden’s laptop scandal. The owner wants $500 million from the tech giant for being falsely portrayed as a “hacker.”
John Paul Mac Isaac filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Miami, far from the Wilmington, Del., computer repair shop where he claims that in 2019 a man identifying himself as Hunter Biden dropped off a laptop and never came back to pick it up.
After Mac Isaac turned the laptop over to the FBI and a lawyer working for presidential attorney Rudy Giuliani because he believed it might contain evidence of wrongdoing, he became the focus of media stories, including in the New York Post. Democrats called the laptop Russian disinformation and Twitter banned stories based on content gleaned from the laptop, suggesting such information violated the social media company’s hacking policy.
U.S. intelligence has said the laptop was not Russian disinformation and federal authorities have confirmed they took possession of the laptop in December 2019. Hunter Biden recently revealed he is under federal criminal investigation for his tax affairs, though he denies any wrongdoing. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently said it was a mistake for his firm to censor the stories.
It was Twitter’s claim that the laptop material violated its hacking policy that triggered Mac Isaac’s lawsuit, which alleges the social media company made several “false and negligent statements.”
“On October 14, 2020, Defendant locked the NY POST’s account as it attempted to post and disseminate its exposé on the social media platform provided by Defendant,” the suit claimed. “In addition to locking the NY POST’s account, Defendant published that it was doing so because the NY POST’s story violated Defendant’s rules against ‘distribution of hacked material.’
“Defendant’s actions and statements had the specific intent to communicate to the world that Plaintiff is a hacker,” the suit alleged. “According to Merriam-Webster, a ‘hacker’ is “a person who illegally gains access to and sometimes tampers with information in a computer system. The term ‘hacker’ is widely viewed as disparaging, particularly when said about someone who owns a computer repair business. Plaintiff is not a hacker and the information obtained from the computer does not [constitute] hacked materials because Plaintiff lawfully gained access to the computer, first with the permission of its owner, BIDEN, and then, after BIDEN failed to retrieve the hard drive despite Plaintiff’s requests, in accordance with the Mac Shop’s abandoned property policy.”
Mac Isaac endured negative reviews of his shop and other harsh actions as a result of the publicity, the suit alleges. His lawyers said they filed the case in federal court in Miami because Mac Isaac has an office and “performs substantial activities in the State of Florida.”
Twitter’s communications office did not immediately reply to a request for comment sent to its Twitter inbox Monday evening.
The suit comes as lawmakers in Congress debate whether to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which blankets major digital companies from liability claims. Mac Isaac’s suit is certain to challenge the claims of immunity in court just as Washington policymakers have a similar debate on the floor of Congress.
The Epoch Times added:
John Paul Mac Isaac, who owned a computer repair shop in Delaware, said weeks earlier that he was forced to close down after death threats in the wake of the laptop saga, released a video challenging the narrative that the computer was hacked.
A New York Post article detailing the contents of the laptop that purportedly belonged to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was initially banned by Twitter. The company cited its hacked materials policy.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told Congress in October that the company didn’t know if the materials were from a hack. The story “showed the direct materials and screenshots of the materials and it’s unclear how they were obtained.” Dorsey said Twitter’s team made a mistake.
The lawsuit (pdf) alleges that following Twitter’s moderation he was personally threatened, his business received negative reviews and threats, and that he is now “widely considered a hacker.”
Twitter acted with “malicious intent” in claiming that Isaac hacked the laptop that appeared to have belonged to Hunter Biden, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit seeks a public retraction from Twitter and $500 million in damages.
Isaac said in his video earlier this month that it’s “completely absurd” that he was labeled a Russian agent or under the influence of Russia.
“Another term that I’ve been labeled—which unfortunately is a death sentence in my industry—is ‘hacker.’ For the record, I am not, nor have I ever been, a hacker. Those guys make so much more money than I did. I was hired, and never paid, to perform a data transfer from a MacBook Pro to an external hard drive,” he said.
“The signed paperwork clearly states the process and sets the expectations. There’s no magic or Hollywood; the process is no different than dragging and dropping from a USB drive. The only difference is that I had to perform some surgery on the Mac to get it to boot to the point where I could recover the data. To imply that I’m a hacker and that that information is hacked has had an irreversible impact on my business and my character.”
Hunter Biden is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware. Prosecutors have declined to comment, citing Department of Justice policy about not commenting on ongoing investigations.
Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.