U.K. Judge Dismisses Trump’s Lawsuit Over “Reputational Damage” Caused By Ex-Spy’s Dossier
A U.K. judge threw out a lawsuit that Donald Trump filed against Orbis Business Intelligence, a British firm co-founded by the former MI6 intelligence officer Christopher Steele. Steele was previously responsible for overseeing the Russia desk for Britain’s secret intelligence service before retiring in 2009 and founding Orbis. Steele had been paid by Democrats to compile research on Trump’s ties to Russia.
The lawsuit alleged that Orbis Intelligence had violated British data protection laws by compiling a 35-page dossier of information suggesting that Trump had engaged in sexual activity with prostitutes while visiting Russia, giving the Russian government material to blackmail him with. The allegations made in the dossier have not been substantiated by any external sources. The dossier was leaked and published by BuzzFeed in 2017.
“The inaccurate personal data in the Dossier has, and continues, to cause me significant damage and distress,” Trump, who has denied the allegations made within the dossier, said in a statement shared by his lawyers in October 2023. “A judgment of the English court on this issue will be an immense relief to me as it will completely confirm the true position to the public.”
“There are no compelling reasons to allow the claim to proceed to trial,” Judge Karen Steyn said while dismissing the lawsuit.
Trump’s attorney, Hugh Tomlinson, previously said the former president had “suffered personal and reputational damage and distress” as a result of the dossier. Trump had previously attempted to sue Steele in a Florida court, but the case was thrown out in 2022.
The Steele dossier—and the allegations made within it—has made an impact far and wide. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee agreed to a $113,000 fine to settle a Federal Election Commission investigation into their possible violation of campaign finance law by funding the research that produced the Steele dossier.
Trump has faced multiple defeats in court already this year. In January, a jury ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million to journalist E. Jean Carroll after she accused him of damaging her reputation by claiming she lied when she accused him of sexual assault. In 2023, a separate jury had ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million for sexually abusing and defaming her. Trump intends to appeal the case.
The large payouts have ignited renewed interest in Trump’s net worth, as his finances continue to be a talking point in and outside of the courtroom.