A laptop allegedly left by the president’s son at a store has become the source of great speculation. VERIFY dug deep into this controversial story.
Federal prosecutors opened an investigation into Hunter Biden during the Trump administration, leading to fee tax evasion and illegal gun possession. He pleaded guilty to those charges, but The plea deal fell apart in July. Now, prosecutors have brought new gun charges and are expected to bring new tax evasion charges as well. Hunter Biden is expected to appear in court.
The main catalyst for the controversy was a laptop allegedly owned by Hunter Biden and left behind at a computer repair shop in Delaware. Weeks before the 2020 presidential election, New York Post Office published an article in which it claimed to have obtained a copy of the laptop’s data.
The article claims the data contains evidence that then-vice president Joe Biden engaged in corrupt activities, specifically related to foreign policy decisions to benefit his son and the companies Hunter works with.
VERIFY has received dozens of questions about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Some viewers simply asked: “Is Hunter Biden’s laptop real?”
VERIFY dug deep into this controversial story and interviewed the owner of a computer repair shop in Delaware.
Here’s what we can confirm is true and false.
Does a laptop connected to Hunter Biden exist?
Yes, a laptop connected to Hunter Biden exists. The FBI seized it from a computer repair shop in Delaware.
WHAT WE FOUND
New York Post Office said it obtained a copy of the laptop’s data from Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal attorney, in October 2020. Giuliani, through his personal attorney, obtained it from John Paul Mac Isaacowner of The Mac Shop, a computer repair shop in Delaware.
In an interview with VERIFY, Mac Isaac said that in April 2019, Hunter Biden brought in a liquid-damaged laptop for data recovery. Mac Isaac said he was transferring files from his laptop to an external hard drive when he saw the documents were at risk of being compromised.
“I realized that there were a lot of sensitive and embarrassing documents on the laptop. Also, some questionable crimes as well. So I’m very worried,” he said.
Mac Isaac said he contacted Hunter Biden multiple times in early 2019, asking him to pick up the laptop and pay for the services, but neither happened. Then, Joe Biden announced his candidacy for president. Mac Isaac said he was uncomfortable possessing documents that could potentially damage the family of a presidential candidate and wanted to turn the laptop over to law enforcement.
“I just thought it was only a matter of time before someone found out that I had seen what I had seen and that I was in possession of what I was in possession of,” he told VERIFY.
Mac Isaac said his initial attempt to turn the laptop over to the FBI was rejected, but after a series of conversations with agents, he eventually received a subpoena for the computer. portable and delivered the device to investigators in December 2019.
Mac Isaac said that after delivering the laptop and providing the agents with some initial technical support, he was never contacted again by investigators. In the summer of 2020, he decided to contact Giuliani, seeing him as an authority figure who could invest more in the computer’s contents.
“At that time, the person I identified was probably the most knowledgeable person about the events [regarding the Biden family] in Ukraine, and a lawyer and representative of the president of the United States, is Rudy Giuliani,” Mac Isaac said. “[I thought he] Looks like someone is actively pursuing what I assume is a crime on the laptop. Let me pick this guy.”
Mac Isaac said he identified Giuiliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, and after an initial email exchange, sent Costello a hard drive with a copy of the laptop’s data in late August 2020, asked Costello to remain anonymous.
Many news agencies obtained copies of the data found on the laptop and handed them over to cybersecurity experts for analysis. Those forensic analyzes concluded the data was real.
One, conducted by The Washington Post, found it possible that some circulated documents purporting to belong to Hunter Biden may have been forged, although the analysis could not say definitively. Analysts say the majority of emails related to Hunter Biden’s foreign business activities show no evidence of tampering.
Another one, made by CBS News, with a copy of the data taken directly from Mac Isaac, found no evidence of tampering. Analysts hired by CBS concluded that the data they reviewed was indeed Hunter Biden’s and could not have been fabricated, in part because of the sheer volume and complexity of the documents, photos and emails in it.
Could information from the laptop lead to corruption charges against Hunter or Joe Biden?
No, so far the information from the laptop has not led to any corruption charges against Hunter or Joe Biden. No allegations of corruption have been made.
WHAT WE FOUND
To date, there have been no charging documents filed by the Department of Justice against Hunter Biden – including in the July or September – mentioned corruption, foreign business dealings of Hunter Biden, or Joe Biden.
The only time foreign business transactions appear public during prosecution is when request resolution disbanded, in part because of a disagreement over whether the deal protected Hunter Biden from prosecution for other crimes, including those related to his business activities abroad. Biden’s lawyers believe it will happen, but prosecutors argue it won’t. The debate has resulted fall of the deal, although there are still no allegations of corruption.
Photos and videos are said to be from the available laptop circulate widely over the past three years, scenes of Hunter Biden often appearing using drugs or engaging in sexual activities.
In one committee hearing in July, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) displayed several graphic images, a decision that was widely condemned.
Has the Department of Justice concluded its investigation of Hunter Biden?
Are not. The DOJ has brought new gun charges and is also expected to bring new tax evasion charges. A trial is expected in both cases.
WHAT WE FOUND
Prosecutors recently withdrew the tax evasion charges but are expected to refile them in another district.
On September 14prosecutors working under Weiss filed a new application Indictment against Hunter Biden on three gun-related charges: one for possessing a gun while addicted to drugs, and two for making false statements on federal forms about that addiction.
Similar charges were brought in July, but the DOJ and Hunter Biden reached a settlement diversion agreement that would bar prosecution if Biden agrees to certain terms. Prosecutors argued that the deal never takes effect and becomes void when the remainder of the plea agreement fails.
Without any plea agreements for the new charges, a trial is expected to take place. Whether any information obtained from the confiscated laptop will be used as evidence against Hunter Biden in the trial is yet to be determined. No one is mentioned in the indictment.
David Weiss, prosecutor appointed by Trump who led investigation of Hunter Biden for many years, recently as Special Counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland. That appointment give Weiss has more autonomy in her investigation.
Although there have been no allegations of corruption to date, the investigation continues.