MAY 18, 2022
Andrew Harnik / AP
The Hollywood lawyer working with Hunter Biden has recruited a team of more than 30 lawyers and investigators to probe the backstory of how a laptop containing years of personal and intimate emails and business records found its way to news reporters and authorities.
The effort led by Kevin Morris, a maverick entertainment lawyer best known for crafting a 9-figure deal for the creators of the animated series “South Park,” appears to be part of an attempt to blunt the impact of an ongoing federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s tax records and business dealings.
Morris and his team have been circulating provocative slides that tease a coming counter-narrative to political attacks against the president’s son. An ongoing Republican-led investigation into Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings is widely expected to escalate if the party takes control of the House or Senate and gains subpoena power. Republicans say the investigation aims to determine if Hunter Biden’s work created any conflicts for his father as a U.S. senator, vice president or presidential candidate.
Both Hunter Biden and his father have maintained that they never communicated about the younger Biden’s business dealings, which included service on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm and dealmaking in China — work that has drawn scrutiny for the past several years.
Morris’s team includes investigators on the ground in Delaware, attorneys in multiple states, and forensic analysts who are attempting to determine if malicious content was added to Hunter Biden’s laptop — which has become the source of investigative reports and political attacks targeting the president’s son.
But at least initially, the effort appears less focused on the content of the laptop than on how it surfaced in the first place. Based on Morris’ slides, several of which were viewed by CBS News, the attorney’s team of investigators is attempting to re-trace the path of Biden’s laptop and determine how it passed through the hands of the Bidens’ political opponents. Much remains unknown about how the younger Biden’s personal computer and its contents became public.
What is known of how the laptop surfaced publicly traces to the owner of a Delaware computer repair shop, John Paul Mac Isaac, who has provided his account in interviews and has plans to release a book about the ordeal. The store owner has said Hunter Biden dropped the laptop off for repairs in 2019 and never came back. In a book excerpt published in the New York Post, he described how he had seen some of its contents and determined the material needed to be shared with authorities. In a later legal case, the shop owner said he turned over the computer to the FBI, and he also provided a copy to a representative of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
In a two-hour interview with CBS News soon after the story broke, the computer store owner noted that his vision was impaired and he never had a clear look at the person dropping off the laptop. At the time, he had difficulty answering key questions about how the laptop ended up in his store, and he contradicted himself about his motivations in turning over the drive.
In the closing weeks of the campaign, the contents of the laptop — alleged by the New York Post to be Hunter Biden’s emails and photos — became a centerpiece of Trump’s political attacks against his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden. Controversy surrounding the laptop grew as the Biden camp tried to sow doubts about its authenticity, even as several major news outlets confirmed that some files on the hard drive were real.
Hunter Biden has never given a clear answer to the question of whether he dropped his computer off at the Delaware shop for repairs. In 2021, Hunter Biden told CBS News he “really” didn’t know if the laptop left at the repair shop was his. “It could be that I was hacked,” he said. “It could be that it was Russian intelligence. It could be that it was stolen from me.”
Morris’ efforts on Hunter Biden’s behalf involve searching for alternative accounts of the chain of custody of the laptop and various copies of its hard drive, a source on Morris’s team told CBS News. The slides describe this as a “contextualized theory” of what transpired a year earlier — in 2019, when Hunter Biden left his computer at the office of Keith Ablow, a Massachusetts therapist Hunter Biden visited for help with drug addiction. The slides don’t make a direct accusation against Ablow, but appear to question whether Ablow could have shared the computer with Trump associates.
Ablow, a former Fox News contributor who has been noted for publicly blending his psychiatric assessments with his right-leaning political ideas, declined to comment for this report. One source familiar with the events told CBS News that Morris’ theory does not match Ablow’s ‘previous descriptions of his actions.
While Ablow has acknowledged that Hunter Biden left his laptop at a bungalow attached to his office in 2019, the source said Ablow has been clear he never facilitated any sort of leak of the material on it — and actually made repeated efforts to persuade Hunter Biden to retrieve his computer. The source said Ablow then contacted Hunter Biden’s lawyer to facilitate its prompt return to him. The source added that Ablow has said he never looked at or accessed the laptop, which was password protected.
Morris appears to be framing the entire question of what occurred as a Hollywood who-done-it. His graphic representations insinuate that the laptop was cloned and passed among a cast of characters that include several Trump advisers. The slides, though, offer nothing in terms of proof. Instead, they include cartoon-like drawings and contain a classic movie tease: “Coming soon!”