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U.K. Judge Dismisses Trump Lawsuit Over Steele Dossier Containing ‘Scandalous Claims’

In World
February 01, 2024

LONDON (AP) — A judge in London on Thursday threw out a lawsuit by former U.S. President Donald Trump accusing a former British spy of making “shocking and scandalous claims” that were false and harmed his reputation.

Judge Karen Steyn said the case Trump filed against Orbis Business Intelligence should be dismissed.

“There are no compelling reasons to allow the claim to proceed to trial,” she said.

The ruling comes as Trump is the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination while facing legal problems on both sides of the Atlantic.

Trump sued the company founded by Christopher Steele, who created a dossier in 2016 that contained rumors and uncorroborated allegations that caused a political storm just before Trump’s inauguration. Trump said the dossier was fake news and a political witch hunt.

Trump sought damages from Orbis for allegedly violating British data protection laws.

At a hearing in October, Trump’s lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson, said the former president “suffered personal and reputational damage and distress” because his data protection rights were violated.

Steele, who once ran the Russia desk for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, was paid by Democrats to compile research that included salacious allegations that Russians could potentially use to blackmail Trump.

Tomlinson said the dossier “contained shocking and scandalous claims about the personal conduct of President Trump” and included allegations he paid bribes to Russian officials to further his business interests. Trump’s case “is that this personal data is egregiously inaccurate,” he said.

In a written witness statement, Trump said that despite Steele’s assertions that the allegations have not been disproven, they were “wholly untrue.”

Trump said he had not engaged in “perverted sexual behavior including the hiring of prostitutes … in the presidential suite of a hotel in Moscow,” taken part in “sex parties” in St. Petersburg, bribed Russian officials, or provided them with “sufficient material to blackmail me.” He also said he had not bribed, coerced or silenced witnesses.

Orbis said the lawsuit should be thrown out because the report was never meant to be made public and was published by BuzzFeed without the permission of Steele or Orbis. It also said the claim was filed too late.

The judge said Trump had “chosen to allow many years to elapse -– without any attempt to vindicate his reputation in this jurisdiction -– since he was first made aware of the dossier” in January 2017.

She said that “the claim for compensation and/or damages … is bound to fail.”

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