UK court orders Trump to pay legal fees of company he sued over controversial Russia dossier

A London judge has ordered former President Donald Trump to pay six figures in legal fees to a company he sued over a controversial dossier that made unverified and salacious allegations about him, according to court documents released Thursday.

After dismissing the former president’s case last month against retired British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and his company, Orbis Business Intelligence, Judge Karen Steyn has ordered Trump to pay £300,000 ($385,000) to the company, according to court documents.

While Orbis Business Intelligence said that its total costs from the lawsuit were £636,356.66 (around $816,000), the company had asked for Trump to be ordered to repay £444,000 (around $569,000) of that. Trump’s legal team argued that these costs were too high considering that the case had been dismissed at an early stage before any defense had been filed.

Steyn ultimately ordered Trump to pay less than 50% of Orbis Business Intelligence’s stated costs.

“We are pleased with Justice Steyn’s interim order and believe it vindicates our position,” Orbis Business Intelligence said in a statement to CNN on Monday. The company declined to provide further comments, citing ongoing litigation.

CNN has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.

Trump brought the data privacy lawsuit in September against Steele and his company, alleging that Steele harmed his reputation by peddling “egregiously inaccurate” claims about his Russian ties.

The uncorroborated claims first emerged in the so-called Steele dossier, which the former British spy secretly compiled on behalf of Trump’s political opponents in 2016, and became public just days before the former president’s inauguration in 2017. The dossier claimed that Trump conspired with the Kremlin to win the 2016 election and that Russia had compromising information on him.

The central allegations were initially given a veneer of credibility because Steele had a solid reputation but a series of US government investigations and lawsuits over the years have discredited many of the claims and exposed the unreliability of Steele’s sources.

For his part, Steele has always publicly maintained that his claims were unverified tips that required further investigation – and were never meant to be released to the world.

News of the latest order comes after Trump has already been hit with more than a half a billion dollars in legal penalties this year. The former president has been ordered to pay E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million dollars in her civil defamation case and a separate $355 million judgment – which has been accruing interest – following a New York civil fraud trial. Trump also faces his own legal fees in the 91 charges he faces in four criminal cases.

This story has been updated with comment from Orbis Business Intelligence.

CNN’s Michael Rios, Jonny Hallam, Kristen Holmes, Marshall Cohen and Zahid Mahmood contributed to this report.

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