Unkempt and unshaven, the man stumbled into the nondescript computer store at a Delaware shopping mall.
Entering The Mac Shop carrying three water-damaged computers, he approached owner John Paul MacIsaac, who later claimed that he smelled alcohol on the customer’s breath.
Mr MacIsaac was able to fix two of the machines, but the third was beyond repair.
Then the customer gave his name: Hunter Biden.
The seemingly innocuous encounter on April 12, 2019, has now become a global news story reaching the White House via Silicon Valley and inhabited by a colourful cast of characters.
As well as the albino shop owner, there’s Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a burly wrestler turned US Navy officer, a nerdy tech wizard and the President himself.
Mr MacIsaac, 44, completed a one-page form with Hunter’s name, address and mobile phone details – all of which have been verified – and a bill for $85 due on completion of the work.
Hunter Biden dropped off his MacBook at the computer store the Mac Shop, which is based in a Delawre shopping mall
He told his customer he would need to copy the contents of the MacBook on to an external hard drive to recover them and the process would take a few days.
The man left – but never returned. Under US law, when 90 days had passed, the uncollected laptop legally became Mr MacIsaac’s property.
He decided to look at the recovered material on the laptop – which is now in the hands of the FBI as part of an investigation in which Mr MacIsaac is a material witness – and says a chill ran down his spine.
The Mail on Sunday today reveals some of that material for the first time – exposing how the son of the man tipped to be America’s next President left himself wide open to blackmail.
Mr MacIsaac fears repercussions. ‘I have everything documented. I have everything saved. But the shop is over.
‘I won’t be able to sustain my business… too many people are angry.’
He eventually alerted the FBI who collected the laptop on December 9, 2019.
The owner of the computer store, John Paul MacIsaac, later claimed that he smelled alcohol on Biden’s breath. Under US law, when 90 days had passed, the uncollected laptop legally became Mr MacIsaac’s property
An agent left a ‘receipt for property’ and a Grand Jury subpoena ordering Mr MacIsaac to testify about its contents.
At this point, the story becomes murkier.
Mr MacIsaac began emailing various senators about what he had found.
After getting no reply, he contacted Mr Giuliani who put him in touch with his lawyer, Robert Costello.
On October 14, the New York Post ran a front-page story with the headline: BIDEN SECRET EMAILS.
Inside they published a few emails relating to Hunter’s business dealings in the Ukraine and alleged links to his father.
Joe and Hunter Biden have denied any impropriety.
Strangely, the story got little traction in the US media.
Stranger still, Twitter blocked the New York Post’s account while Facebook and Google censored any mention of the article. Under pressure, they relented.
Even when Tony Bobulinski, a former US Navy serviceman and ex-wrestling champion who was Hunter’s business partner, went on Trump-supporting Fox News to confirm he had emails verifying those on the laptop, the story was largely ignored.
Meanwhile, a cyber-security expert hired by a freelance journalist drove to Mr Costello’s home on October 19 to copy the hard drive.
He then spent ‘hundreds of hours’ verifying the information and satisfying himself that the data had not been interfered with.
Finally, as Mr Trump fumed about the absence of media coverage for the Biden Files, the material was offered to The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline.