John Paul Mac Isaac, who retrieved “smoking gun emails” from a laptop allegedly owned by Hunter Biden, on Monday sued Twitter, claiming that he was forced to quit his computer repair business after the social media company labeled him a “hacker.”
According to the NY Post story, which Twitter flagged as violating the platform’s “hacking materials” rules, the emails were from a MacBook Pro that was left in Mac Isaac’s shop. Their content related to Hunter Biden’s foreign dealings and were indirectly obtained by the Post via Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer of President Donald Trump. The younger Biden has denied any wrongdoing.
In the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Mac Issac demanded an order forcing Twitter to make a “public retraction of all false statements” in addition to a $500 million in defamation damages.
“Plaintiff is not a hacker and the information obtained from the computer does not [include] hacked materials because Plaintiff lawfully gained access to the computer,” the complaint reads, adding that Mac Issac is now known as a hacker and had to close his shop due to negative online reviews and threats against his property and personal safety.
A judge dismissed the case almost immediately because it failed to meet the constitutional requirement of complete diversity for the district court, according to legal news website Law & Crime.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the parties on the two sides of a case must be from different states in order to have a federal district court to hear the case. If any plaintiff is a citizen of the same state as any defendant, there is no diversity and the case must be proceeded in a state court instead of a federal one.
In Mac Issac’s case, the district court lacked diversity jurisdiction, since Twitter was incorporated in Delaware in April 2007 and Mac Isaac is a Delaware resident.
“The Court cannot conclude that [Twitter] is a Florida citizen,” the judge said in the decision. “The Complaint merely alleges that Defendant maintains an office in Florida, but it does not allege where the ‘principal place of business’ is located.”
Isaac may now sue again as long as he is able to establish that the court has jurisdiction over the case.
In October, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted to Congress that the company wasn’t sure whether the materials featured in the NY Post story were from a hack. The story “showed the direct materials and screenshots of the materials and it’s unclear how they were obtained,” Dorsey said at that time.