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Hunter Biden's attorney sends Trump cease-and-desist letter over social media attacks

The letter to Trump’s lawyers accuses the former president of targeting Biden with "thinly veiled calls to action to his easy-to-trigger followers."
Hunter Biden in Washington, on June 25, 2023.
Hunter Biden in Washington, on June 25.Andrew Harnik / AP file

Hunter Biden's attorney sent Donald Trump's legal team a cease-and-desist letter on Thursday, accusing the former president of repeatedly defaming President Joe Biden's son on social media.

“I am sending you this letter to make a demand that your client, former President Donald Trump, cease and desist from making public statements about my client which are both defamatory and likely to incite Mr. Trump’s followers to take actions against Mr. Biden and which could lead to his or his family’s injury,” Abbe Lowell, Biden's attorney, wrote in the letter.

The letter was first reported by ABC News. A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to NBC News' requests for comment. Lowell's office declined to comment.

The letter, addressed to four of Trump’s lawyers, accuses the former president of invoking Biden's name on social media to "harass and incite his followers on a near daily basis since Trump was himself indicted."

Lowell said Trump's posts amount to “thinly veiled calls to action to his easy-to-trigger followers.”

He cited a July post on Trump’s Truth Social platform in which the former president wrote that David Weiss, the prosecutor investigating Hunter Biden, “never had the courage” to prosecute Biden, and said he doled out "a traffic ticket instead of a death sentence.”

"We have seen that what might pass as such a phrase when uttered by rationale people is heard by too many in this country as some terrible injustice for which they must take physical and violent action," he wrote, citing high-profile occurrences of political violence, including the attack on former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, in October.

That attack, along with other high-profile instances of political violence, typify the real-world implications of Trump's rhetoric, Lowell argued.

"We are just one such social media message away from another incident, and you should make clear to Mr. Trump — if you have not done so already — that Mr. Trump’s words have caused harm in the past and threaten to do so again if he does not stop," he wrote.

In June, Weiss, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for Delaware, announced a plea agreement with Hunter Biden, who is expected to plead guilty to two federal misdemeanor counts of failing to pay his taxes. Biden also faces a separate felony gun possession charge that is likely to be dismissed if he meets certain conditions, according to court documents filed last month.

Under a provision of the agreement, the U.S. attorney has agreed to recommend probation for Biden for his tax violations, two sources familiar with the matter previously told NBC News. Legal experts told NBC News that the tax and gun charges are unlikely to result in any jail time for President Biden’s son.

Trump and a cadre of his Republican allies have repeatedly attempted to juxtapose Biden's case with the former president's legal headwinds. They claim that a plea deal resulting in misdemeanors and no jail time smacks of preferential treatment for a powerful family.

Legal experts say the cases are fundamentally different. Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor and an NBC News legal analyst, told MSNBC last month that the deal Hunter Biden reached was a decent outcome for the president’s son, but not the “sweetheart deal” that Trump and his allies have made it out to be.

Lowell, in his letter, said he is "a little surprised to have to send this letter because it would seem that Mr. Trump is currently facing enough legal problems."

“I am writing to demand a stop to this,” he wrote. "I am hoping you will speak with Mr. Trump privately and explain to him how his incitement can further hurt people and cause himself even more legal trouble."