Former Trump Aide Must Face Hunter Biden Lawsuit, Judge Rules

former trump aide must face hunter biden lawsuit, judge rules

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, arrives to the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on June 06, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware. A judge ruled that the infamous laptop that belonged to Hunter Biden will lead to a trial against the alleged individual who hacked it.

A California judge has rejected a motion made by former Trump White House aide Garrett Ziegler to dismiss charges alleging that he hacked into Hunter Biden's laptop and posted its contents online.

Judge Hernán Vera, of U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, in a court filing on Thursday rejected Ziegler's attempt to throw out the case, which purports that Ziegler "illegally accessed, manipulated and damaged his [Hunter Biden's] data without his authorization or consent." Hunter Biden, now a convicted felon and son of President Joe Biden, filed the suit on September 13, 2023, alleging one federal claim for violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and two state claims for violation of California's Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act.

It stems from Ziegler and ICU, LLC assuming the pseudonym "Marco Polo" in July 2021 to create a report titled, "Report on the Biden Laptop" that was published online in October 2022 and described by Ziegler himself as "an online searchable database of 128,000 emails found on the Biden Laptop."

"We vehemently disagree with the judge's written opinion yesterday," Ziegler, who worked on trade policy in the Trump administration, told Newsweek via email on Friday. "Litigating a case with a judge who was appointed by the plaintiff's daddy is never easy, but we will eventually prevail. All we've done is tell the truth, and no one has accused us otherwise."

Hunter Biden has accused Ziegler—who still heads Marco Polo, described as a "nonprofit research group exposing corruption & blackmail"—of never being authorized or given consent to access any of his data, at any time or for any purpose.

He alleges that Ziegler "unlawfully accessed, tampered with, manipulated, damaged, and copied thousands of emails, photos, videos, and recordings, which include financial and bank records." Ziegler is also accused of stealing "at least some data" originally stored on Hunter Biden's iPhone and backed up to his iCloud storage.

Ziegler's attempts to squash the charges also alluded to his First Amendment and free speech rights under California's anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) statute, which does not apply to federal claims.

Vera rebuked the argument, saying it "lacks merit" based on Ziegler's assertions about the case.

"[Hunter Biden] did not sue Defendants for creating a report or website," Vera wrote. "Defendants are being sued for 'accessing, tampering with, manipulating, altering, copying and damaging' Plaintiff's computer data."

The judge added: "Stated differently, the gravamen of the lawsuit is not predicated on protected speech and certainly does not arise from or rely on Defendants' free speech. The anti-SLAPP statute simply does not apply."

Ziegler has also argued that Vera overseeing the case is political and should have led to recusal, based on the judge donating "at least $1,600" to Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign, according to Law & Crime on Friday. On June 13, 2023, President Biden confirmed Vera for his current position.

Newsweek has reached out to Hunter Biden's legal team for comment via email.

Earlier this month at Hunter Biden's felony gun trial in Wilmington, Delaware, his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, approached Ziegler and said, "You have no right to be here, you Nazi piece of s***."

Ziegler confirmed the altercation to a reporter, saying, "For the record, I'm not a Nazi, I'm a believer in the U.S. Constitution. I haven't said one thing to them."

Hunter Biden was found guilty on three felony counts of making a false statement in connection with the sale of a firearm, a false statement in a firearms transaction, and possessing a firearm while being a drug user or addict. He is the first child of a sitting U.S. president to stand trial and be convicted of federal crimes.

The president's son previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying that he entered a rehab program before purchasing the firearm and checked off "no" on a federal form that asked whether he was an "unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance."

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