An attorney representing Hunter Biden has fired off a legal threat to Tucker Carlson and Fox News, demanding a retraction for segments suggesting that Biden made nearly $50,000-a-month in housing rent payments to his father President Joe Biden.
The implication in the Carlson segments, picked up on by other Fox News personalities, was that the money was being laundered to Joe Biden before he was elected president.
In the letter, Bryan Sullivan asked Carlson and Fox News Media General Counsel Bernard Guger for an acknowledgement that the network “errored by not verifying the information underlying the so-called ‘rent’ story and relying on information that it knew was described as ‘wild speculation.'” Sullivan also is asking for other statements to be made on air, including an apology.
Carlson’s segment on Jan. 16 cited a rental application background check form allegedly filled out by Hunter Biden in 2018. In the application, which was first posted online by an anonymous Twitter user and was claimed to have come from Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive, there was a reference to a rent payment that totaled nearly $50,000 per month.
In his segment, Carlson claimed that the payment was for “housing costs.” He said, “So how did a disgraced drug addict with no job skills make enough money to make a $50,000 a month rent payment? Who is paying and how much are they paying him, and why were they paying him? And by the way, what classified documents keep appearing in homes that Hunter Biden lived in?” The latter was a reference to the discovering of documents with classified markings found at Joe Biden’s Wilmington home.
Carlson also asked, “So is it possible that Joe Biden’s lifestyle was financed by his son and his son’s dealings with foreign governments? Apparently he shared a bank account with his son.”
Other Fox News personalities, including Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, picked up on the story. Fox News anchor John Roberts said, “Hunter Biden listed that Wilmington home as his primary residence that he was renting for $50,000 a month. And I assume that the documents were in the garage at that time.”
In his letter, Sullivan pointed out that the rent payments actually were quarterly payments made for Washington, D.C. office space at the House of Sweden. Sullivan cited a Jan. 21 fact check report in The Washington Post.
The attorney also pointed to Carlson’s acknowledgment that he relied for his report from the anonymous Twitter user as well as reporting done by the New York Post’s Miranda Divine.
But Sullivan pointed out that Devine had sent “cautionary tweets” about the $50,000 per-month-rent, noting that the claims that it was for the Wilmington home were “wild speculation.”
Carlson “said nothing about those tweets although he implied he reviewed all of her tweets by describing her as having ‘done extensive reporting on it,'” Sullivan wrote. He added that “despite having prior information that the so-called ‘rent’ story was called ‘wild speculation’ by one of its first proponents, Mr. Carlson, with reckless indifference and actual malice, reported the so-called ‘rent’ story as fact to support his premise that Mr. Biden was paying the so-called ‘rent’ as part of a money laundering scheme to finance President Biden’s pre-presidential lifestyle.”
After the Carlson segment, Sullivan noted, Hannity posted an article from the Daily Caller, but that piece was since retracted after the Washington Post fact check. Another report in Breitbart was updated to note that the quarterly payments were made to House of Sweden.
A Fox News spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
The legal threat was first reported in The Washington Post as part of a larger story on how Hunter Biden’s team was taking a more aggressive strategy, calling for federal and state investigations into allies of President Donald Trump for disseminating personal data from the laptop.
Sullivan also is demanding that Carlson and other Fox News commentators “spend the same amount of time” retracting the rent story.
Meanwhile, House Republicans are pressing forward on investigations of aspects of the Hunter Biden story. The House Oversight Committee, led by Rep. James Comer (R-KY), have scheduled a hearing for next week, “Protecting Speech from Government Interference and Social Media Bias, Part 1: Twitter’s Role in Suppressing the Biden Laptop Story.” Among those scheduled to testify are the former Twitter executives: Vijaya Gadde, former chief legal officer; James Baker, former deputy general counsel; and Yoel Roth, former global head of trust and safety.
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