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Hunter Biden

Former Secret Service agent sues New York Post and Daily Mail over Hunter Biden claim

Robert Savage says stories claiming he helped Hunter Biden in Los Angeles were based on fabricated text messages.
Hunter Biden In House Oversight
Hunter Biden on Capitol Hill on Jan. 10, 2024.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images file

A former Secret Service agent sued two news organizations for defamation Tuesday and accused them of publishing stories based on fabricated text messages that he says falsely linked him to Hunter Biden. 

Robert Savage, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Secret Service and the Special Agent in Charge of the agency’s Los Angeles Field Office from 2015-2017, filed the lawsuits in New York against the New York Post and two of its reporters, and the owner and publisher of the Daily Mail. 

Savage alleged that the reporters and publications recklessly disregarded information that the text messages, which came from a laptop that purportedly belonged to Hunter Biden, were fabricated. Despite that, they published articles and tweets in 2021 and 2023 that suggested Savage communicated with and met with Biden in Los Angeles. 

“Rob has not and has never met Hunter Biden, does not know Hunter Biden, has no connection with Hunter Biden, and has never corresponded with Hunter Biden,” Savage’s attorney, Mark Goidell, told NBC News. He added that Savage was "flabbergasted by the false reporting” and that the former agent was filing the lawsuits out for concern for his own well-being and that of his family and business.

“I am fully convinced that the New York Post and the Daily Mail were aware that their factual allegations were false and that the text messages they attributed to Rob were fabricated” Goidell said. He accused the new organizations of publishing the stories to “sensationalize their publications” and increase revenue. 

A representative for the New York Post declined to comment. The owner and publisher of the Daily Mail did not immediately respond to requests for comment by telephone and email.

James Comer, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which has investigated Biden, appeared to reference the text messages in an interview with Fox News in 2023. 

“There are numerous instances where the Secret Service came and tried to bail Hunter out when he was in a jam,” Comer said. “When he was in California and getting in all kinds of trouble, getting kicked out of a very exclusive hotel there.”

A spokesperson for Comer declined to comment. 

In a deposition to the House Oversight Committee conducted under oath in February, Hunter Biden denied knowing Savage or meeting with him.

“There is a fabricated conversation between me and a supposed Secret Service agent in a hotel room in Los Angeles” Biden said. “He has never met me, he has never had any conversation with me."

The text messages were part of a collection of data from an Apple computer that the owner of a repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware said a man he believes was Hunter Biden left in his store 2019. Data from the laptop ended up in the possession of allies of former President Donald Trump, including Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, and was given to conservative news outlets and later NBC News and other media organizations. 

The lawsuits state that the telephone number associated with the texts was from a one-use voice over internet provider that was not associated with Savage. 

The lawsuits claim that the stories resulted in significant damage to Savage’s reputation and emotional distress, due to “threats to his life” as well as loss of contracts and other business opportunities. 

The purported text message exchange has been a focus of law enforcement officials, federal prosecutors and Republicans in Congress. 

In March 2022, Savage was visited at his home by an FBI agent and an IRS agent who said they wanted to ask him questions about his association with Hunter Biden and the laptop. Savage was also served with a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Attorneys Office in Delaware, which later charged Biden with tax and gun charges.

NBC News obtained security footage of the interaction, copies of the business cards left by the agents and a copy of the subpoena. 

The IRS agent identified himself as Joseph Ziegler, who testified as a whistleblower to a House committee investigating Hunter Biden in 2023. Ziegler alleged that the Department of Justice prosecutors limited his investigation of Hunter Biden, a charge that DOJ officials denied. Ziegler’s attorney declined to comment. 

Goidell said that the law enforcement agencies appear to have ended their investigations of the alleged text exchanges between Savage and Biden.

“Rob was extremely cooperative and demonstrated to the agents why and how the allegations were false and fabricated,” he said. “They were apparently satisfied that Rob was truthful because there has been no additional contact from any law enforcement agency.” 

The FBI, the IRS, and the office of Special Counsel David Weiss, the former U.S. Attorney from Delaware who is investigating, declined to comment. 

Savage was named in a lawsuit between a fashion designer and “real housewife” Erika Girardi, that included an allegation that savage was bribed to wrongfully investigate the designer for credit card fraud. Savage denied the allegation, and earlier this month a federal judge said he plans to dismiss the claim against Savage in a tentative order to dismiss.