The Daily Beast is sorry

John Paul Mac Isaac is the Delaware computer repairman with whom Hunter Biden dropped off his infamous laptop for repair in April 2019. In a long-term drug-induced stupor, Biden abandoned the laptop with the repairman. When the New York Post obtained a copy of the laptop’s hard drive and revealed some of its scandalous contents in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, all involved (excepting Hunter Biden) were tagged as agents of Russian disinformation.

On May 3 the Post’s Miranda Devine reported that Isaac has brought defamation claims against Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, CNN, The Daily Beast and Politico. The lawsuit is filed in Maryland state court. I have posted Isaac’s 29-page complaint at the bottom.

Devine’s column helpfully reviews the relevant facts and serves up this pungent quote from Isaac: “After fighting to reveal the truth, all I want now is for the rest of the country to know that there was a collective and orchestrated effort by social and mainstream media to block a real story with real consequences for the nation.”

Mac Isaac’s lawsuit goes back to the lie promulgated by the “‘Dirty 51’ laptop liars,” as Devine characterized them in her May 18 Post column. The Dirty 51 are the former high-ranking intelligence officers who signed off on the October 2020 letter published by Politico and reported by Politico’s Natasha Bertrand in “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.” Landing at CNN, Bertrand subsequently failed upward.

The Dirty 51 carefully couched their disparagement of the laptop story as opinion based on their experience. Knowing how their letter would be taken, they purported to express no knowledge of the underlying facts. They are knaves and cowards.

If their letter is safe from a claim for defamation, as it probably is, claims based on “republication” (restatement) of what they said would be too. Mac Isaac’s lawsuit is accordingly predicated on statements that go beyond the letter.

The shiftless Adam Schiff, for example, went well beyond republication. He announced to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “Well 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.” Schiff should be shafted. Isaac’s claim against CNN derives from its broadcast of Schiff’s statement to Blitzer.

“Without any intel, the head of the intel committee decided to share with CNN and its viewers a complete and utter lie,” Mac Isaac said. “A lie issued in the protection of a preferred presidential candidate.” (Here I am drawing on Caroline Downey’s NRO story behind NRO’s paywall.)

The Daily Beast also went beyond the dirty work of the Dirty 51. In a December 2020 story, the Daily Beast described the laptop as “stolen.” That would make Isaac a thief. The Daily Beast story, by the way, came under the byline of Erin Banco, Scott Bixby, and Sam Stein. That adds up to three — count ’em — reporters.

Mac Isaac’s lawsuit has apparently induced late second thoughts at the Daily Beast. The December 2020 Daily Beast story is now accompanied by an editor’s note that is appended to it: “An earlier version of this story mistakenly referred to Hunter Biden’s laptop as ‘stolen.’ We have removed that word, and we apologize to Mr. Mac Isaac for the error.” FOX News media reporter Joseph Wulfsohn covers the development here.

Mac Isaac’s complaint also takes up an October 2020 Daily Beast story by Spencer Ackerman and Will Sommer that allegedly described the laptop as “purloined.” The Daily Beast story was updated this week on May 25. I can’t get access to the story to figure out this aspect of the complaint. See the complaint at paragraphs 108-111.

Isaac Schifff Laptop Complaint by Scott Johnson on Scribd

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