Fancy That: Hunter Biden Dismisses Laptop Lawsuit Against Rudy Giuliani

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

It's been a consequential week for Hunter Biden and the court system. On Tuesday, the First Son was convicted on federal gun charges. On Thursday, he dismissed his civil lawsuit against former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani over the infamous "laptop from hell," said laptop featuring as a key piece of evidence relied on by Joe Biden's Department of Justice in securing the aforementioned conviction.


Hunter Biden has agreed to drop a civil lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani and the former New York mayor's lawyer over the release of Biden's private digital data, according to a new court filing Thursday.

The big picture: The lawsuit alleged that Giuliani violated federal law by accessing and disseminating Hunter Biden's digital data from a laptop that had belonged to him. Embarrassing revelations from the data dump fueled a wave of Republican attacks and played a role in the president's son's legal troubles.

The suit was initially filed in the Central District of California but transferred (by agreement of the parties) to the Southern District of New York in March 2024. 

One might understandably conclude that this dismissal, given its timing, was prompted by Hunter Biden's conviction — a decision to forego pursuing the claim against Giuliani since the laptop itself was authenticated during the course of the Delaware trial, which might undercut claims that Giuliani (along with attorney Robert Costello — remember him?! — who is also named as a defendant in the suit) tampered with and manipulated data from the laptop and then disseminated it. 


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However, there are a couple of reasons why it likely is not. First and most obvious, Hunter, through his attorney Abbe Lowell, had already advised the court on May 24 (a week and a half before the start of the trial) that they intended to voluntarily dismiss the matter. Second, Giuliani filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2023.

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Without wandering too far into the weeds, there are reasons why a civil matter involving a party in bankruptcy may need to be paused while the bankruptcy is sorted out, and it appears that was likely the primary driver of this decision. 

Of note, the dismissal is without prejudice (meaning the case can theoretically be refiled at a later date), and Lowell's letter references the parties' intent to "toll the relevant statutes of limitations for the claims asserted in the action." This indicates that Hunter's legal team isn't ruling out refiling the suit, although if I were the betting sort, I'd not put my money on it. 


This is just supposition on my part, but the suit struck me as not so much about seeking money damages as it was a brushback pitch aimed at undermining the credibility of the laptop and/or data obtained from it and made public. That is largely moot at this point, given the federal government's reliance on the laptop (and some of its content) in pursuing and obtaining the conviction in Delaware and continuing to pursue the tax charges in California. I'm not sure Rudy Giuliani (or Bob Costello) lost much sleep over this litigation, but for now, they can breathe a tad easier. 



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