In a dramatic turn of events, Hunter Biden, the disgraced first son of President Biden, has filed a lawsuit against two Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblowers, accusing them of violating his privacy and attempting to embarrass him. The legal action comes just days after Hunter was indicted on federal firearms charges for allegedly lying about his drug use in order to purchase a gun. The lawsuit seeks to enforce federal tax and privacy laws and prevent the spread of unsubstantiated allegations and unlawful disclosure of Hunter's tax information. While the two agents, Greg Shapley and Joe Ziegler, were not named in the lawsuit, the filing focuses on their statements and congressional testimony, in which they raised concerns about a cover-up in the Department of Justice's tax fraud investigation into Hunter Biden.
According to Hunter Biden's attorney, Abbe Lowell, the agents disclosed private tax information in nearly two dozen interviews and statements. The lawsuit seeks $1,000 in damages for each unauthorized disclosure of Hunter's tax returns, along with attorney fees and related documents. Lowell argues that the sharing of Biden's personal tax information was not permitted under whistleblower protections. He also claims that the agents' statements were politically motivated and aimed at protecting investigators from probing into finances linked to President Biden.
Mark Lytle, an attorney for Gary Shapley, one of the whistleblowers, dismisses the lawsuit as a frivolous smear intended to intimidate potential whistleblowers. Lytle highlights how Shapley's testimony, as well as that of Joseph Ziegler, uncovered Hunter Biden's “sweetheart” plea deal, which was eventually rejected by Judge Maryellen Noreika. Attorney General Merrick Garland then appointed David Weiss as the special counsel in the case, allowing for the litigation of all charges, except for the federal firearms charges, to take place beyond Delaware.
Former journalist Matt Taibbi, known for his coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop saga, comments on the irony of the lawsuit. Taibbi argues that it is difficult to understand how Hunter Biden can claim a violation of personal privacy when the tax information is relevant to a major legal probe. He suggests that the lawsuit is a reaction to the fact that information, which was previously hidden, is now coming to light.
The lawsuit, filed in a DC federal court, comes three months after Hunter Biden struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors, pleading guilty to two misdemeanors related to his failure to pay taxes. The deal, which was heavily criticized by Republicans, was scuttled after additional charges were revealed during a court hearing. US Attorney David Weiss, who oversaw the case, was granted special counsel status by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Hunter Biden's legal troubles have been a subject of controversy and speculation, with allegations of impropriety and involvement in international lobbying activities. President Biden has consistently denied any wrongdoing or involvement in his son's affairs. The lawsuit against the IRS whistleblowers is seen by some as an attempt to divert attention from Hunter's legal problems and intimidate potential whistleblowers. The case will undoubtedly continue to attract significant attention and scrutiny, particularly as the 2024 presidential election draws nearer.