KEY POINTS

  • The scandal around a laptop allegedly full of incriminating information on Hunter Biden faded following doubts that the information was accurate
  • The primary source, legally blind computer repairman John Paul Mac Isaac, has now left town after receiving death threats, and no charges have been levied against the Bidens
  • Some evidence now suggests the information had connections to Russia

The possible laptop belonging to Hunter Biden, which allegedly was full of incriminating files, was at the center of controversy from right-leaning media in October, weeks before the presidential election. At the center of the unsubstantiated reports was a computer repairman in Wilmington, Delaware, who gave the laptop to federal authorities.

So, whatever happened to that repairman?

John Paul Mac Isaac, owner of The Mac Shop in Wilmington, has seemingly skipped town in the wake of the scandal, the Delaware News Journal reports. His computer repair shop sits closed, and a neighbor told the News Journal that Mac Isaac had moved.

Mac Isaac’s attorney says he moved shortly after his story was published in the New York Post and that the repairman had received death threats.

The alleged incident began in April 2019, when an unidentified man walked into Mac Isaac’s computer repair shop with three water-damage laptops. He reportedly identified himself as Hunter Biden, though Mac Isaac could not be sure of the man’s identity since he is legally blind. The man dropped off one laptop to be repaired and returned only once after, never collecting the laptop or the data on it. 

Then-vice president Joe Biden, pictured with his sons Hunter (L) and Beau (R) during the 2009 inaugural parade of President Barack Obama Then-vice president Joe Biden, pictured with his sons Hunter (L) and Beau (R) during the 2009 inaugural parade of President Barack Obama Photo: GETTY IMAGES / DAVID MCNEW

Mac Isaac eventually looked at the contents and although he won’t say exactly what they were, feared for his life after viewing them, the News Journal reports. Little is known about Mac Isaac, who has not interviewed by any major news outlet.

The FBI took the laptop in December 2019 but did not publicly release the contents. Mac Isaac, reportedly frustrated with the FBI’s silence during the “sham” Donald Trump impeachment trials, contacted Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. 

The story would make its way to the New York Post, a right-leaning daily tabloid. The Post published a report on Oct. 14 alleging then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden had met with an executive from a Ukrainian energy company that Hunter Biden worked for, accusations supposedly stemming from the data on the laptop.

The Post also included some embarrassing photos of Hunter Biden for good measure. Although it redacted Mac Isaac’s personal information in almost all documents, one reference to his shop was missed in the fine print, likely leading to the death threats that caused him to move. 

Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden is pictured. Photo: DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

Doubts about the story emerged almost instantly and no substantiated facts would emerge, about the laptop or about Mac Isaac's claims.

Joe Biden said no such meeting had taken place. The New York Times reported the Post's lead author Bruce Golding declined to attach his name to the article since “he had concerns over the article’s credibility.”

The story faded into obscurity, with no new information emerging and the Bidens never charged with a crime. 

Conservative media later pivoted to Tony Bobulinsky, a tertiary actor in the drama, with his own allegations. 

So, how did the story even surface and gain traction?

A theory that has received a surprising amount of credibility is that the entire scandal was a Russian operation.

More than 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter saying the story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

Two days after the article’s publication the Associated Press reported the FBI was investigating if the laptop was tied to Russian disinformation, which would explain why it didn’t release the contents.

On Oct. 24,  Politico reported that in early 2019 a Ukrainian oligarch offered to sell Giuliani “salacious photos and other documents” relating to Hunter Biden, casting new light on statements from Mac Isaac’s lawyer Brian Della Rocca that drew a distinction between what was on the laptop and what Giuliani released.

"I have no concern that the information on the laptop is legitimate information," Della Rocca said. "Now what was released [by Giuliani]? I don't know. I just don't have that level of information yet."