A British judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit brought by Donald Trump claiming that a former spy had made up “shocking and scandalous claims” about him engaging in “perverted sexual acts” in Russia.
The former president brought his case against Orbis Business Intelligence over a dossier written by the company’s co-founder Christopher Steele, a former MI6 intelligence officer. Trump alleged that Orbis had violated U.K. data protection laws, but London High Court Judge Karen Steyn ruled that “there are no compelling reasons to allow the claim to proceed to trial.”
The so-called “Steele dossier” was published by BuzzFeed News in January 2017 shortly before Trump’s inauguration. The document, which also contained a series of unverified claims about ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, was immediately dismissed by Trump as a political witch hunt and fake news. Steele had been paid by Democrats to compile the report.
At a hearing in October, Trump attorney Hugh Tomlinson said his client had “suffered personal and reputational damage and distress” through the violation of his personal data protection rights. He said the dossier contained “shocking and scandalous claims about the personal conduct of President Trump” and that Trump’s case “is that this personal data is egregiously inaccurate.”
In a witness statement made public in October, Trump said he filed the lawsuit to prove that the claims in the document are false. He insisted he had not taken part in “perverted sexual behavior including the hiring of prostitutes” in the presidential suite of a Moscow hotel, nor had he been involved in “sex parties” in St. Petersburg. Trump further refuted that he’d ever bribed Russian officials or witnesses.
Orbis said the case should be dismissed because BuzzFeed published the report without the approval of either Steele or the company, adding that Trump had brought the suit to address his “longstanding grievances” against the business and former spy. Orbis also said Trump had filed his claim too late.
Judge Steyn noted that the current 2024 GOP frontrunner had indeed “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.”