A former computer repair shop owner who was at the center of the controversy over Hunter Biden’s former laptop contents is now suing Twitter for defamation.
John Paul Mac Isaac has filed his lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida, claiming that he was damaged after Twitter labeled the contents of the laptop “hacked materials” during the time it banned sharing of reporting about the laptop.
This is Mac Isaac’s second suit. A previous lawsuit that sought $500 million in damages was thrown out over jurisdiction issues, according to the Washington Examiner.
In the new lawsuit, Mac Isaac, who now lives in Colorado, claims that he has suffered damages in excess of $75,000, with the precise amount to be determined after a trial.
The suit also calls for Twitter to “make a public retraction of all false statements and to issue a public apology.”
The contents of the laptop were controversial because they showed new aspects of Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings and appeared in some cases to link President Joe Biden to some of his projects.
Biden has insisted he was never involved in his son’s foreign business ventures.
The lawsuit notes that the computer was dropped off in April 2019 by Hunter Biden to have data recovered from its hard drive, but that the president’s son never responded to messages to pick it up. From July 2019 through October 2020, Mac Isaac dealt with the FBI, staff members of Congress, and an assistant to lawyer Rudy Giuliani about the data he recovered.
The lawsuit said that the Oct. 14 story published by the New York Post about the contents of the computer was published without the computer repairman’s knowledge.
Twitter then stepped in and blocked sharing of the story, saying that it violated the platform’s policy against sharing hacked materials.
FIRST ON NEWSMAX ?: John Paul Mac Isaac, the repairman who obtained the contentious Hunter Biden laptop, speaks out about his experience over the past few months.
— Newsmax (@newsmax) December 31, 2020
“Plaintiff is not a hacker and the information obtained from the computer does not constitute hacked materials because Plaintiff lawfully gained access to the computer, first with the permission of its owner, BIDEN, and then, after BIDEN failed to retrieve the recovered data despite Plaintiff’s requests, in accordance with the Mac Shop’s abandoned property police,” the lawsuit said.
“Plaintiff, as a direct result of Defendant TWITTER’s actions and statements, is now widely considered a hacker and, beginning on the same day that Defendant TWITTER categorized the Plaintiff as a hacker, Plaintiff began to receive negative reviews of his business as well as threats to his person and property.”
The lawsuit added that as a result of being falsely labeled a hacker by Twitter, Mac Isaac had to close his business.
The suit said Twitter acted with “malicious intent” in labeling the material as having come from hacking, and that it was also “grossly negligent” in doing so.
“Defendant TWITTER knew or should have known that its statement that the NY POST’s story contains hacked materials would cause harm to the Plaintiff.”
“The statements allege that Plaintiff committed crimes including (but not limited to) computer hacking of the son of Democratic Party nominee, now President, Joe Biden. The implication of an attempt to undermine American democracy and the 2020 Presidential election is obvious.”
In an article published around the time of the first lawsuit being filed, the New York Post reported that Twitter would likely be shielded against the lawsuit by Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a controversial section of law former President Donald Trump wanted to repeal that protects interactive websites from liability for third-party content posted on their platforms.
Clay Calvert, a University of Florida professor of law and journalism, said Isaac’s suit sought “to evade Section 230 because it claims the defamatory content was created and posted by Twitter itself.”
“Typically, online platforms such as Twitter can remove or block content that violates their own terms-of-service policies without losing the protection of Section 230.”
Cleveland lawyer Subodh Chandra, who specializes in civil rights lawsuits, said Section 230 “would likely protect Twitter from suit … because it permits editorial judgments on content.”
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