Donald Trump wants to give evidence in London court over ‘Steele dossier’

Donald Trump wants to give evidence in London court over ‘Steele dossier’

LONDON (Reuters) : Donald Trump wants to give evidence in a London court to prove claims Russia supported his 2016 election campaign are false, the former U.S. president’s lawyers said on Monday as he bid to continue his case against a British private investigations firm.

Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is suing Orbis Business Intelligence for alleged data protection breaches over a dossier written by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

The Steele dossier, which was published by the BuzzFeed website in 2017, made allegations about ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, and said Trump engaged in “perverted sexual acts”.

Many of the allegations were never substantiated. Trump has previously criticised what he described as Steele’s “fake dossier” and his lawyers said in court filings made public on Monday that the report is “egregiously inaccurate”.

Trump said in a witness statement that the dossier contains “numerous false, phony or made-up allegations” and denied that he hired prostitutes to engage in “golden showers” in the presidential suite of a Moscow hotel, took part in “sex parties” in St Petersburg or gave the Russian authorities “sufficient material to blackmail me”.

“The only way that I can fully demonstrate the total inaccuracies of the personal data in the dossier is to bring these proceedings and to prove, by evidence at trial, that the data are false,” he said.

“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 at large.”


Trump’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson told the court the former president wanted to prove that the “shocking and scandalous claims” in the Steele dossier were false and “intends to discharge that burden by giving evidence in this court”.

Orbis’ lawyers argue that Trump’s lawsuit should be thrown out of court. Antony White said in court filings that the dossier was never intended to be made public.

He argued that any reputational damage and resulting distress suffered by Trump was “caused by the BuzzFeed publication, for which (Trump) accepts Orbis is not liable”.

White said in court filings that “the genie is irreversibly out of the bottle” because of BuzzFeed’s publication of the dossier. “We are all free to download the memos,” he added.

Orbis also argues that Trump is not bringing the case for vindication, but instead is suing “for the purpose of harassing Orbis and Mr Steele and pursuing longstanding grievances”.

Trump did not attend the hearing in London on Monday and was not required to do so. Steele did attend and sat alongside Orbis’ lawyers during the hearing.

Trump’s lawsuit against Orbis is one of many legal cases the former president is involved in, which Tomlinson acknowledged at the start of Monday’s hearing.

Tomlinson said: “His (Trump’s) interactions with the U.S. legal system have been many and varied and he has sometimes been subject to serious criticism by judges in the U.S.”

But he added: “None of this is relevant to whether the personal data is accurate.”

He and his family business are currently facing a lawsuit from the New York attorney general’s office over allegations that he inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to secure better loan and insurance terms.

Trump is also facing four separate sets of criminal charges, including allegations in a federal court in Washington that he conspired to defraud the United States by preventing Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over him.

Despite his legal entanglements, Trump leads a field of rivals seeking the 2024 Republican nomination, with many Republican voters having embraced Trump’s assertion that he is the victim of a Democrat witch hunt.