Update (1440ET): A Florida judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit against Twitter brought by the former owner of a now-defunct computer repair business who turned over Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop to the FBI and Rudy Giuliani's lawyer, Robert Costello.
The suit was dismissed on a technicality over jurisdiction on Monday, the same day it was filed, after plaintiff John Paul Mac Isaac's legal team failed to successfully argue "complete diversity" - which requires all plaintiffs and defendants must be from different states. Because Twitter was incorporated in Delaware and Isaac is a Delaware resident, the complete diversity requirement is not met, according to Judge Beth Bloom.
"According to the Complaint, Defendant made false statements that Plaintiff is a ‘hacker’ in reference to materials obtained by the New York Post and shared on Twitter in an exposé concerning the contents of Hunter Biden’s computer hard drive. For the reasons set forth below, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction," Bloom wrote, adding "For a court to have diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), ‘all plaintiffs must be diverse from all defendants.'"
The case was dismissed without prejudice, so Isaac can re-file on the same grounds in the proper jurisdiction.
* * *
Twitter has been sued by a Delaware computer shop owner who says the social media giant effectively labeled him a "hacker" after he was outed as the source of Hunter Biden's laptop.
John Paul Mac, who provided signature evidence that Hunter Biden dropped his laptop off at the Wilmington, Delaware repair shop - subsequently abandoning it, says Twitter's actions forced him to shut down the 'Mac Shop' after Twitter said the New York Post's exposé on the laptop violated its "hacked materials" policy - which they initially disallowed from being shared across the network, according to Variety.
The Rupert Murdoch-owned paper claimed the material for its Hunter Biden exposés was supplied by Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who allegedly obtained it from a MacBook Pro that had been abandoned in Mac Isaac’s shop.
Mac Issac is demanding $500 million in punitive damages from Twitter plus unspecified compensatory damages and lawyers’ fees, as well as an order forcing Twitter to “make a public retraction of all false statements.” His lawsuit was filed Monday, Dec. 28, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. -Variety
"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," reads Mac's complaint, adding that thanks to Twitter citing its "hacked materials" policy, he is now "widely considered a hacker," and has received negative online reviews along with threats against himself and his property - forcing him to ultimately shutter the Mac Shop.
After first citing its “hacked materials” policy for the URL blocking, Twitter a day later revised that policy to allow tweets that discuss hacked material and that the company would now add labels to (rather than block) posts that link to such content.
On Oct. 30, Twitter made another update: The social network said that enforcement decisions made under policies that are subsequently changed will no longer be applied retroactively. “This means that because a specific @nypost enforcement led us to update the Hacked Materials Policy, we will no longer restrict their account under the terms of the previous policy and they can now Tweet again,” the Twitter Safety team said in a thread. In addition, the Post’s previous tweets linking to the Biden stories, which Twitter had disabled, were restored. -Variety
After Twitter blocked the story, President Trump threatened to strip big tech platforms of Section 230 protections, which allow companies like Twitter to moderate content without legal liability for offensive posts made by its users.
Mac may also have a bone to pick with Democrats and mainstream media outlets, who said that Russia was behind the laptop scandal.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called it a "propaganda coup from Vladimir Putin."
On CNN, Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff says New York Post Hunter Biden story 'comes from the Kremlin.' Anchor seems to agree. Would be more persuasive if they provided evidence that 1) story is false, and 2) it 'comes from the Kremlin.' pic.twitter.com/JBILBs3YT3— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 17, 2020
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) went full tin-foil, suggesting that Giuliani was a 'key target' of 'Kremlin constructed anti-Biden propaganda.'
2/ Russia knew it had to play a different game than 2016. So it built an operation to cull virulently pro-Trump Americans as pseudo-assets, so blind in their allegiance to Trump that they’ll willingly launder Kremlin constructed anti-Biden propaganda.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 17, 2020
Guiliani was a key target.
Headlines in major publications were perhaps even more conspiratorial:
And of course, propagandists are doing their thing...
The essence of propaganda is repetition pic.twitter.com/nWO9aTWklr— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 17, 2020
Which means Mac is being directly accused of participating in a Russian plot. How familiar.