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Thursday, October 22, 2020

How a scandal-plagued Hunter Biden tried to disappear — only to see his past dominate campaign

At the time Hunter Biden’s laptop reportedly sat unclaimed at a Delaware repair shop, the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden was living a tumultuous life, including facing a paternity lawsuit from an exotic dancer.

The repair shop owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, told The New York Post a man who he cannot identify left the MacBook Pro in April 2019. He never returned, and Mr. Isaac eventually took custody. He gave a download of the contents to the FBI and President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who provided the data to the Post.

The chain of events raises the question of how someone — Mr. Biden, an associate or someone else — could forget about or knowingly discard a computer containing tens of thousands of emails that tell tales of lucrative foreign cash transactions. The hard drive also held explicit sex scenes involving drugs.

Robert Costello, Mr. Giuliani’s lawyer, told Fox News on Wednesday that the hard drive contains 40,000 emails, thousands of text messages, photographs and videos.

Hunter Biden’s attorney has not disputed that his client used the laptop.

Hunter Biden has long been a liability for his father’s presidential campaign. The elder Mr. Biden has weathered criticism dating back to his days as vice president in the Obama administration for conflict of interest over his son’s high-flying business deals.

Hunter Biden, who has been in and out of treatment centers for drugs and alcohol abuse, had moved to Los Angeles in 2018 to sort of disappear, he told The New Yorker for a July 2019 profile.

In April 2019, Hunter Biden ended his much-criticized relationship with Hallie Biden, the widow of his late brother, Beau.

In May 2019, the month after the computer was dropped off, he married a South African woman, Melissa Cohen, six days after they met. They were photographed in Los Angeles.

That same month, Lunden Alexis Roberts, a former exotic dancer in a D.C. nightclub frequented by Hunter Biden, filed a paternity lawsuit claiming Mr. Biden had fathered her child, born in August 2018. Mr. Biden denied he ever had sex with Ms. Roberts. In November 2019, Ms. Roberts filed documents saying Mr. Biden’s DNA matched the child’s. The case was settled in March.

In May 2019, Breitbart News broke the story that an Arizona police report in 2016 said Hunter Biden was suspected of doing illegal drugs in his Hertz rental. A cocaine pipe was found in the car. He also left behind personal items, such as two D.C. driver’s licenses and multiple credit cards.

After the report, Hunter Biden failed to appear with other family members at his father’s presidential campaign launch in Philadelphia.

He resigned in April 2019 from the board of Burisma Holdings, the Ukraine natural gas company where he served with his business partner, Devon Archer.

Burisma hired Hunter Biden after his father was named the White House’s point man on Ukraine. He and Mr. Archer earned millions of dollars from Burisma, a Senate report released last month found.

Around the same time, Mr. Giuliani mounted a public campaign to paint Hunter Biden as a lawbreaker by laundering money out of Ukraine.

The Republican Senate report cited confidential U.S. Treasury Department reports in suggesting that Hunter Biden violated federal laws.


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