NEW YORK — A revamped legal team representing Hunter Biden is taking the first steps in what appears to be a more aggressive approach to his defense, disseminating on Wednesday a batch of criminal referrals and cease-and-desist letters targeting some of his most vocal detractors.
Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for Hunter Biden, wrote to the Justice Department and the Delaware attorney general's office asking investigators to examine the conduct of several operatives who allegedly played a role in "accessing, copying, manipulating, and/or disseminating Mr. Biden's personal computer data," including Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon, and other supporters of former President Donald Trump.
"The actions described above more than merit a full investigation and, depending on the resulting facts, may merit prosecution under various statutes," Lowell said. "It is not a common thing for a private person and his counsel to seek someone else being investigated, but the actions and motives here require it."
Law enforcement agencies are not obligated to act on such referrals, nor are they required to acknowledge them.
Lowell also wrote to the Internal Revenue Service requesting a probe into Garrett Ziegler, a former Trump White House aide who recently published a trove of emails allegedly tied to Hunter Biden. That letter challenges the tax-exempt status of Ziegler's organization, Marco Polo, which is filed as a 501(c)(3).
Ziegler's organization "has failed to operate solely for charitable purposes," Lowell wrote to the agency. "To the contrary, [Marco Polo] has operated as little more than a thinly disguised political operation to attack the Biden administration and the Biden family."
Bryan Sullivan, a defamation lawyer retained by Hunter Biden, also sent a cease-and-desist letter to Fox News and Tucker Carlson, asking the network and its primetime host to retract and correct a report they ran about alleged rent payments Hunter Biden made to his father, which they have claimed as evidence that the president was more closely tied to his son's financial arrangements.
Carlson's promulgation of the story stands in "flagrant violation of all journalistic professionalism," wrote Sullivan, who also warned of "potential litigation" if the network fails to agree to a retraction by the end of the day on Thursday. Sullivan also asked that Fox News preserve any records related to its handling of the story.
The change in tack by lawyers for the president's only living son comes at a precarious time for the younger Biden, as Republican scrutiny of his business dealings ramps up and federal prosecutors reportedly near the conclusion of their years-long probe into his tax affairs.
Federal authorities in the Delaware U.S. attorney's office, led by U.S. Attorney David Weiss, a Trump-era appointee, have been investigating Hunter Biden since 2018, ABC News has previously reported, but paused for several months ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
The probe spilled into public view in December 2020, shortly after Joe Biden secured the presidency, when Hunter Biden confirmed the probe into his "tax affairs." Prosecutors have since examined whether he paid adequate taxes on millions of dollars of his income, including money he made from multiple overseas business ventures.
Hunter Biden has repeatedly said he is cooperating with investigators and remains "100% certain" that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing. President Biden has said he and his son never discussed his foreign business dealings, and there are no indications that the federal investigation involves the president in any way. The White House has repeatedly sought to distance the president from the probe.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Republicans have taken their first investigative steps in a long-awaited congressional probe into the younger Biden. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, have called investigations into the president's family a "top priority" and have pledged to "pursue all avenues" of wrongdoing. They said they "would love" to speak with Hunter Biden, but did not announce plans to issue a subpoena.
Lowell, a celebrated defense lawyer, joined Hunter Biden's legal team in December to assist with congressional oversight inquiries. He has represented a number of high-profile political figures, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump; Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; and former Sen. John Edwards.
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