In a high-profile clash of legal claims, Hunter Biden, the son of U.S. President Joe Biden, has taken legal action against Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock.com, alleging that Byrne defamed him in a series of statements connecting him to bribery and the recent conflict in Israel. The suit, which was lodged in a Los Angeles federal court, accuses Byrne of spreading baseless allegations that Hunter Biden had proposed a bribe to the Iranian government in return for unfreezing Iranian funds, an accusation that Biden fiercely denies.
The complaint targets statements Byrne made both in a June interview and in a social media post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. In the aftermath of the devastating Hamas attacks in Israel, Byrne's post suggested that Hunter Biden's supposed actions had a role in the violence-a claim that the lawsuit describes as "outrageous" and "completely false."
Hunter Biden's legal team has cast Byrne's allegations as not just false and malicious, but also as "complete nonsense," insisting that there is no basis for the claims. According to the lawsuit, these allegations were broadcasted to over 100,000 viewers on social media, amplifying their potential impact.
Patrick Byrne, known for his support of former President Donald Trump and for promoting various conspiracy theories, including those about the 2020 presidential election and COVID-19 vaccines, has yet to respond to the defamation suit. His attorney did not immediately provide a comment.
This is not the first legal battle for Hunter Biden, who has recently initiated several lawsuits against individuals on the far-right. He has accused Rudy Giuliani of hacking into his personal devices, leading to what he terms a "total annihilation" of his digital privacy. He also filed a suit against the Internal Revenue Service, alleging the illegal disclosure of his tax information.
The lawsuit comes at a time when Hunter Biden is also facing legal scrutiny himself, with two misdemeanor tax evasion charges and a separate accusation regarding the illegal purchase of a handgun. These charges have been met with plea deals intended to keep him out of prison.
With the Biden family under the microscope of Republican lawmakers seeking to discredit the current administration, this legal move by Hunter Biden serves as a counteroffensive against the barrage of claims leveled against him.
As the legal process unfolds, Hunter Biden seeks unspecified general and punitive damages for defamation, standing firm against the allegations made by Byrne. His representation includes experienced attorneys from Winston & Strawn and Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae.