Thursday 25 January 2024

Judge Presiding Over Hunter Biden’s Lawsuit Against Garret Ziegler Donated To Biden Campaign

 A federal judge appointed by President Biden presiding over his son’s lawsuit against a former Trump aide donated to Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, public records show.

U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California Hernán D. Vera, a judge nominated by President Biden in September 2021 and confirmed in 2023, donated to Biden’s campaign on multiple occasions, Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show

Vera is the judge overseeing Hunter Biden’s lawsuit against former Trump aide Garrett Ziegler. The lawsuit is seeking damages for alleged computer fraud in connection with a public database of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop archive. Ziegler’s non profit, Marco Polo, created the database.

The nonprofit compiled a roughly 600 page report on all of the information contained in the laptop archive related to Hunter Biden’s lucrative foreign business dealings and lavish lifestyle. 

Judge Vera donated on numerous occasions to the Biden presidential campaign when he was a principal for Bird Marella PC, a boutique law firm specializing in litigation and white collar defense, according to the FEC records.

In September 2020, Vera donated to Biden for President three times, with two of those donations going through the Biden Victory Fund, the campaign’s joint fundraising committee. His first donation to the Biden campaign through the Biden Victory Fund came a month prior.

Throughout his time at Bird Marella, he donated to various Democratic candidates such as California Rep. Adam Schiff and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. A progressive attorney, Vera was previously the CEO of Public Counsel, a left-wing pro bono law firm.

Vera told lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee his experience is primarily in business litigation and civil rights and public interest litigation.

“My professional career has included more than eleven years as a business litigator practicing in state and federal courts and more than thirteen years as a civil rights and public interest litigator representing low-income clients in a wide variety of areas, and now as a sitting judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court.” Vera said.

In 2014, as CEO of Public Counsel, Vera wrote an opinion column advocating for then-Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint a “progressive” lawyer for a California Supreme Court position.

Vera later advocated against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department giving Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) access to inmates serving prison sentences for violent crimes. He was previously a member of the LA County Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission, but his advocacy took place in a personal capacity.

The FBI, IRS and numerous media outlets have verified the contents of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop archive. Federal authorities verified the computer data prior to the New York Post’s reporting on the laptop archive ahead of the 2020 presidential election, IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley testified in May.

Special counsel David Weiss’ team reiterated Shapley’s testimony in a response motion to Biden’s claim of malicious prosecution in connection with the federal gun charges he faces in Delaware. Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty in October to the charges.

“In August 2019, IRS and FBI investigators obtained a search warrant for tax violations for the defendant’s Apple iCloud account. In response to that warrant, in September 2019, Apple produced backups of data from various of the defendant’s electronic devices that he had backed up to his iCloud account,” the motion states.

“Investigators also later came into possession of the defendant’s Apple MacBook Pro, which he had left at a computer store. A search warrant was also obtained for his laptop and the results of the search were largely duplicative of information investigators had already obtained from Apple,” the motion adds.

Weiss was appointed special counsel in August by Attorney General Merrick Garland, an appointee of Hunter Biden’s father. Weiss is simultaneously serving as the U.S. Attorney for Delaware. 

Hunter Biden’s lawsuit alleges Ziegler received a manipulated version of the laptop archive and then further manipulated it. The New York Post obtained a copy of the computer hard drive from former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who is also being sued by Hunter Biden.

In addition, the lawsuit claims Ziegler tampered with iPhone backup data he published on Marco Polo’s website, without providing evidence for either claim aside from Ziegler’s public comments.

“Since approximately December 2020, Defendant Ziegler, Defendant ICU and their ‘team’ of volunteers and independent contractors have spent countless hours accessing, tampering with, manipulating, altering, copying and damaging computer data that they do not own and that they claim to have obtained from hacking into Plaintiff’s iPhone data and from scouring a copy of the hard drive of what they claim to be Plaintiff’s ‘laptop’ computer,” Biden’s complaint alleges. Biden’s defense attorney Abbe Lowell did not respond to a request for comment.

Ziegler’s attorney Bob Tyler previously told the Daily Caller his client only changed the data to ensure the pornographic material was censored.

“My client did not manipulate the data to change the facts, statements or misrepresent anything. Our client only censored some of the content as it relates to the pictures so that they wouldn’t be distributing pornographic material,” Tyler said. He declined to comment.

Vera could not be reached for comment.

Marco Polo filed in December a motion to dismiss Biden’s lawsuit, arguing he lacks jurisdiction, fails to state claims of computer fraud and is using the lawsuit to restrict Ziegler’s free speech rights. A hearing on the motion to dismiss is scheduled to take place in February.

“Over two years after the dissemination of the Biden Laptop files, Plaintiff inexplicably files this lawsuit against Defendants. Instead of challenging the media outlets, Plaintiff filed half-baked legal challenges against Defendants right before an election season involving his father. Plaintiff’s challenges are largely premised on a report Defendants prepared about Hunter Biden as part of their mission of investigating foreign compromise within government,” the motion to dismiss begins.

The younger Biden pleaded not guilty Jan. 11 to nine federal tax charges after he was indicted in December by a grand jury in the Central District of California as a result of Weiss’ criminal investigation.

In a statement, Lowell attributed the tax charges to political pressure. Hunter Biden could land in prison for a maximum of 17 years for the tax charges and 25 years for the gun charges.

Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings are a central component of the House GOP’s impeachment inquiry into President Biden. The Biden family and its business associates hauled in more than $24 million over a five year period, House Republicans said in a September memo.

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