A federal judge threw out a defamation lawsuit brought against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) by the owner of a Delaware computer repair shop where Hunter Biden dropped off and left behind his now-infamous laptop hard drive in April 2019.
Repair shop owner John Paul Mac Isaac had filed the lawsuit in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware against Schiff, Hunter Biden, CNN, and Politico in October 2022. Schiff had attempted to dismiss the Hunter Biden laptop stories published by the New York Post in October 2020 as nothing but a “smear” from the “Kremlin.”
“Schiff had not received reports that the Hunter Biden laptop information was part of a Russian disinformation campaign; therefore, Schiff knowingly and intentionally made the false statements,” Mac Isaac said in his lawsuit, adding, “Schiff knowingly conveyed false information with the intent to harm the reputation of” Mac Isaac. Mac Isaac had asked for damages of $1.5 million to replace his “lost income resulting from Schiff’s false and defamatory statements.”
Judge Maryellen Noreika of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware ruled Friday that the lawsuit would be dismissed against Schiff specifically, with the remainder of the case to be handled by the Delaware courts.
The Justice Department had intervened in Mac Isaac’s lawsuit earlier in March, seeking to substitute the United States as a defendant in place of Schiff, arguing that federal law required that the U.S. be made the defendant in place of a congressman in the case of lawsuits against “an employee of the government” when the employee is acting “within the scope of their office.”
The DOJ insisted “Schiff was acting within the scope of his office” when he made the claims on CNN. Mac Isaac had insisted in his amended complaint in January that “Schiff’s job description as a member of Congress does not include knowingly conveying false information to the public.”
The judge said Friday that the DOJ had moved to substitute itself for Schiff and had filed a motion to dismiss the case over lack of jurisdiction and that Mac Isaac did not respond in time. Noreika ruled that federal law required the substitution of the U.S. for Schiff and that the case was now being dismissed against the U.S., with the rest of the lawsuit sent back to the Delaware court.
“Well, we know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin. … Clearly, the origins of this whole smear are from the Kremlin, and the president is only happy to have Kremlin help in trying to amplify it,” Schiff claimed on CNN on Oct. 16, 2020. “The intelligence community has made that abundantly clear, and this particular smear, though, has also been acknowledged to come from the Kremlin.”
Then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe shot this down on Oct. 19, 2020. “Let me be clear, the intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that, and we have shared no intelligence with Chairman Schiff or any other member of Congress that Hunter Biden’s laptop is part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” Ratcliffe said. “It’s simply not true.”
The FBI added at the time that it had “nothing to add” to Ratcliffe’s comments.
Konstantinos “Gus” Dimitrelos, a cyber forensics expert and former Secret Service agent, conducted an examination of the laptop for the Washington Examiner last year, concluding that “there is a 100% certainty that Robert Hunter Biden was the only person responsible for the activity on this hard drive and all of its stored data” and that “the hard drive is authentic.”
Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign quickly dismissed the laptop story as a Russian disinformation operation. After the New York Post published emails belonging to his son, Joe Biden called the story “garbage” and part of a “Russian plan” during an October 2020 debate with then-President Donald Trump.