The owner of the Delaware computer repair shop, who in 2020 alerted authorities to the existence of a controversial laptop belonging to then-candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, is suing Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and three media publications for insinuating he had spread Russian disinformation.
John Paul Mac Isaac, the repair shop owner, first informed the New York Post of his lawsuit on Tuesday. Mac Isaac filed a lawsuit in Montgomery County, Maryland, arguing that comments by Schiff, and coverage of the controversial story by CNN, the Daily Beast and Politico were defamatory and caused him reputational damage.
Mac Isaac’s lawsuit notes comments Schiff made in an interview with CNN host Wolf Blitzer just days after the New York Post originally began reporting on the controversial laptop.
Schiff, who is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, appeared for an interview with Blitzer during which they discussed Hunter Biden’s recently published emails. Schiff said, “We know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin. That’s been clear for well over a year now that they’ve been pushing this false narrative about the Vice President and his son.”
Moments later in the interview segment, Blitzer said, “Take a look at this picture of [then-President Donald Trump] in the Oval Office holding up a copy of the New York Post touting this conspiracy theory.”
“Yes. Well, look, I think we know who the driving force behind this smear has been all along and it’s been the president and the Kremlin,” Schiff replied. “The Kremlin has an obvious interest in denigrating Joe Biden. They want Donald Trump to win.”
Describing his lawsuit to the New York Post this week, Mac Isaac said, “Without any intel, the head of the intel committee decided to share with CNN and its viewers a complete and utter lie; a lie issued in the protection of a preferred presidential candidate.”
In at least one article on the controversial laptop, the Daily Beast described the laptop’s materials as “purloined,” writing that the FBI “is investigating the purloined laptop materials from Joe Biden’s son.” Dictionary.com defines “purloin” as “to take dishonestly; steal; filch; pilfer” and “to commit theft; steal.” Mac Isaac argues the article’s wording raised the allegation that he stole the computer.
Mac Isaac described the consequences to his business reputation that came with the reporting on the laptop.
“Twitter initially labeled my action hacking, so for the first day after my information was leaked, I was bombarded with hate mail and death threats revolving around the idea that I was a hacker, a thief and a criminal,” Mac Isaac said.
Mac Isaac told the New York Post he had to close his store in Greenville, Delaware — near some Biden family homes — after people started throwing vegetables, eggs and dog poop at the store. Mac Isaac reportedly left his business and lived in Colorado for a year following the backlash.
Brian Della Rocca, the attorney representing Mac Isaac, said the lawsuit is seeking “at least $1 million in compensatory damages [and] punitive damages which will be the much bigger number and will be determined at trial.”
Mac Isaac’s lawsuit also takes issue with an article by Politico describing 51 former intelligence agency veterans who signed onto a letter that said the reporting on the controversial laptop “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Politico reported on that letter with the headline “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”
In addressing Politico’s reporting, the lawsuit states “The article was written by journalist Natasha Bertrand, who seemingly has a history of transforming speculation into fact in the stories upon which she reports.”