Hunter Biden threatens to sue Fox News for airing 'revenge porn'

ABC News obtained a letter his attorneys sent to the network last week.

April 30, 2024, 8:01 AM

Attorneys representing President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden are threatening to sue Fox News for violating "revenge porn" laws and publishing since-discredited bribery allegations as part of a scheme to "paint him in a false light," according to a letter obtained by ABC News.

The letter, which Hunter Biden's counsel transmitted to attorneys at Fox News last week, includes a request for the conservative news outlet to "preserve all documents potentially relevant to the allegations in this letter" -- a common precursor to litigation.

"We anticipate that litigation against FOX ... is imminent," the letter says.

To pen the letter to Fox, Hunter Biden enlisted the law firm Geragos & Geragos, whose principal, Mark Geragos, has represented A-listers like Michael Jackson, singer Chris Brown, and actress Winona Ryder.

Geragos also has experience representing family members of presidents: He negotiated a plea deal in 2001 for Roger Clinton Jr., the brother of former President Bill Clinton, for driving under the influence.

After years of quietly weathering a federal criminal investigation and deluge of negative press, Hunter Biden embarked on an aggressive legal counteroffensive last year against several individuals who played some role in obtaining and disseminating the contents of a laptop purportedly belonging to him.

Among those are John Paul Mac Isaac, the computer repairman who initially obtained the laptop; Rudy Giuliani, who denied Hunter Biden's claim that he manipulated and disseminated data from the laptop; and Garrett Ziegler, a onetime Trump White House aide who published the contents of the laptop -- including several graphic images -- to the internet.

PHOTO: Hunter Biden following a closed-door deposition before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, and House Judiciary Committee in the O'Neill House Office Building on February 28, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, listens as his attorney Abbe Lowell makes a statement to the press following a closed-door deposition before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, and House Judiciary Committee in the O'Neill House Office Building on February 28, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

According to accounts given by Mac Isaac and his attorney, on April 12, 2019, Hunter Biden arrived at Mac Isaac's computer repair shop with three damaged devices and asked if the data could be recovered. Days later, Mac Isaac said, he asked Hunter Biden to return to the shop to retrieve the devices and pay an $85 service fee. Mac Isaac has said he never heard back from Hunter Biden, and the invoice was never paid.

After 90 days, according to Mac Isaac and his attorney, the abandoned laptop became Mac Isaac's property, pursuant to the work order agreement Hunter Biden allegedly signed when he first visited Mac Isaac's shop.

Mac Isaac subsequently turned the laptop and external hard drive over to the FBI in December 2019, and later sought to share information from the devices with then-President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who made the contents of the devices available to other Trump allies and some news outlets in the weeks prior to the 2020 presidential election.

In a statement to ABC News, Hunter Biden's legal team said, "For the last five years, Fox News has relentlessly attacked Hunter Biden and made him a caricature in order to boost ratings and for its financial gain. The recent indictment of FBI informant Smirnov has exposed the conspiracy of disinformation that has been fueled by Fox, enabled by their paid agents and monetized by the Fox enterprise. We plan on holding them accountable."

Attorneys for Hunter Biden demanded that Fox News "expeditiously remove and disable access" to the images. They sent the letter on April 23 and requested that Fox's legal team "have taken steps outlined in this letter" by Friday, April 26.

A Fox News spokesperson said in a statement, "Hunter Biden's lawyers have belatedly chosen to publicly attack Fox News' constitutionally protected coverage regarding their client. Mr. Biden is a public figure who has been the subject of investigations by both the Department of Justice and Congress, has been indicted by two different US Attorney's Offices in California and Delaware, and has admitted to multiple incidents of wrongdoing. Consistent with the First Amendment, Fox News has accurately covered these highly publicized events as well as the subsequent indictment of an FBI informant who was the source of certain claims made about Mr. Biden."

If Hunter Biden moves forward with a lawsuit against Fox News, it would constitute his first action against a major media firm.

In their letter to Fox News, attorneys for Hunter Biden cited statistics that they say demonstrate how ubiquitous the outlet's coverage of the president's son had become in recent years.

Some of Fox News' star anchors, including Maria Bartiromo and Sean Hannity, ran hundreds of segments about a now-discredited claim that Joe and Hunter Biden accepted millions of dollars in bribes from a Ukrainian oligarch, according to statistics gathered by media watchdog Media Matters.

Alexander Smirnov, the source of the allegation, has since pleaded not guilty to charges that he fabricated the story to harm the president politically.

But according their letter, attorneys for Hunter Biden charge that "rather than walk back the story and correct the record, FOX double-downed on the debunked bribery allegation and used Smirnov's indictment to suggest an even deeper conspiracy."

Attorneys for Hunter Biden also demanded that Fox News remove a miniseries called "The Trial of Hunter Biden" from its streaming services.

The miniseries, described by Fox Nation as a mock trial that seeks to show "how a possible Hunter Biden trial might look," includes several sexually graphic images of Hunter Biden, which are reproduced in the letter.

The miniseries "unlawfully published and continues to publish intimate images of Mr. Biden depicting him in the nude as well as engaged in sex acts in violation of the majority of states' laws against the nonconsensual disclosure of sexually explicit images and videos, sometimes referred to as 'revenge porn' laws," Hunter Biden's attorneys wrote.

The images cited in the letter date back to a time when Hunter Biden was in the throes of drug and alcohol addiction. In his 2021 memoir, "Beautiful Things," Hunter Biden described frequent drug-infused binges that often involved sexual interactions with women.

When special counsel David Weiss brought tax-related charges against Biden last year, his indictment included an accounting of how Hunter Biden spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on women instead of paying his taxes. Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

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