Hunter Biden sued Patrick Byrne for defamation on Wednesday, saying the former CEO of Overstock.com falsely accused Biden of soliciting a bribe from Iran.
Byrne is a Donald Trump ally who has promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, Covid-19 vaccines and other issues.
Biden filed the suit in federal court in the Central District of California on the same day that House Republicans rolled out a batch of subpoenas targeting him and his family as part of their impeachment inquiry.
The suit cites claims Byrne made about Hunter Biden in June of this year and again on Oct. 8. In an interview published in June, Byrne accused the president’s son of reaching out to the government of Iran and offering to have his father unfreeze Iranian money in exchange for a bribe, according to the complaint.
“These defamatory statements by Byrne are not merely false and not merely malicious — they are completely outrageous,” reads the complaint, later calling them “complete nonsense.”
The lawsuit notes that Byrne re-posted the Iran allegations on X, formerly known as Twitter, the day after Hamas fighters killed more than 1,400 Israeli citizens in a brutal attack.
“The clear implication of Byrne’s October 8, 2023 posts was that Plaintiff’s allegedly criminal and corrupt actions had contributed to the terrorist attacks by Hamas,” the complaint added.
More than 100,000 people viewed Byrne’s posts about the president’s son and Iran, according to the suit.
The suit says Biden sent Byrne a letter on Oct. 26 demanding he retract the statements, and that Byrne did not respond.
In the weeks after the 2020 election, Byrne pushed conspiracy theories claiming now-President Joe Biden stole it from Trump. He was in an Oval Office meeting held on Dec. 18, 2020, with lawyer Sidney Powell, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. In the meeting, Powell urged Trump to have the military seize voting machines.
Biden has filed a series of lawsuits in recent months, including targeting Giuliani and the IRS. His lawsuit against Byrne is his first to make a defamation claim. A lawyer for the former CEO declined to comment on the suit.