“Anti-Trump dossier creator Christopher Steele will face a London defamation trial later this year, one of two court cases in which he was forced to produce his first and only on-the-record statements on how he investigated and spread Democratic Party opposition research.
A lawyer involved in a lawsuit told The Washington Times that the London trial will start this fall, sometime between mid-October and mid-December.
A half-dozen libel lawsuits have been filed against Mr. Steele and other dossier-related operatives. The one filed in London in 2017 by Russian entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev would be the first to reach trial.
Mr. Steele is a key figure in promoting Trump-Russia conspiracy theories within the Obama administration and the news media. In his final of 17 dossier memos in December 2016, he accused Mr. Gubarev, a large supplier of computer servers, of hacking into Democratic Party computers under pressure from Russian intelligence. Mr. Gubarev, a resident of Cyprus, immediately denied the charge. There has been no evidence he did the intrusion.
Mr. Gubarev sued BuzzFeed in Florida for publishing the discredited 35-page dossier, which listed his name as a criminal hacker. A federal judge dismissed the case, but not because she ruled the charge was true. Rather, she ruled that BuzzFeed had a right to publish since the FBI was using Mr. Steele’s charges to investigate President Trump.
In Britain, libel laws don’t favor the press the way they do in the U.S.
Mr. Gubarev’s lawsuit has avoided the issue of dismissal because Mr. Steele’s defense isn’t that the dossier is true, said Val Gurvits, Mr. Gubarev’s U.S.-based attorney. Mr. Gubarev heads XBT Holdings, which includes the server provider Webzilla.
“They didn’t have a motion to dismiss,” Mr. Gurvits told The Times. “It doesn’t work that way in England. Because they did not allege truth as a defense, they did not have a right to file for summary judgment. That’s a huge issue, by the way, that most of the press conveniently ignored. Christopher Steele is not arguing that the allegations against Gubarev are true.”
Mr. Gurvits said the trial is slated to start between Oct. 21 and Dec. 18. (Read more: Washington Times, 2/24/2019)