U.K. Court Rejects Trump's Suit Against Ex-Spy's Defamatory Dossier

Former President Trump faces legal defeat in British court

by Zain ul Abedin
U.K. Court Rejects Trump's Suit Against Ex-Spy's Defamatory Dossier
© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In a recent legal setback for former U.S. President Donald Trump, a U.K. court has dismissed his lawsuit against Orbis Business Intelligence, a British investigative firm co-founded by Christopher Steele, an ex-MI6 officer. Steele, notable for his previous role overseeing MI6's Russia desk, retired in 2009 to establish Orbis.

The firm came into the spotlight for compiling a dossier, reportedly funded by Democratic Party affiliates, that delved into Trump's alleged connections with Russia. At the heart of the lawsuit was a contentious 35-page dossier crafted by Orbis, which suggested Trump's involvement in questionable activities with prostitutes during a visit to Russia.

This information, Trump's legal team argued, was not only unverified but also provided fodder for potential blackmail by the Russian government. Despite its sensational claims, these allegations have yet to be corroborated by independent sources.

The dossier gained widespread attention after its leak and subsequent publication by BuzzFeed in 2017.

U.K. Court Dismisses Trump's Claim

Trump, firmly denying all the allegations laid out in the dossier, expressed through a statement by his lawyers in October 2023 his distress over the "inaccurate personal data." He stressed the personal and reputational harm caused by the dossier, noting that a favorable judgment from the English court would vindicate him and clarify the situation to the public.

However, presiding over the case, Judge Karen Steyn concluded there was insufficient basis to proceed to trial, stating, “There are no compelling reasons to allow the claim to proceed to trial”. This decision effectively ends Trump's pursuit of legal redress in the U.K.

for the alleged damages. Hugh Tomlinson, representing Trump, previously articulated the significant personal and reputational harm his client suffered due to the controversial dossier. This is not Trump's first legal challenge regarding the dossier; a similar lawsuit filed in a Florida court against Steele was dismissed in 2022.

The court's decision marks another chapter in the ongoing saga surrounding Trump's alleged ties to Russia. This narrative continues to evoke intrigue and speculation in political and media circles.