Trump’s Privacy Case Over Dossier Thrown Out by U.K. High Court

Trump’s Privacy Case Over Dossier Thrown Out by U.K. High Court

The High Court in London decided on Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former President Donald J. Trump against Christopher Steele, a former British spy who compiled a dossier in 2016 detailing unproven claims of links between Mr. Trump and Russia.

The lawsuit had been brought by Mr. Trump against Orbis Business Intelligence, Mr. Steele’s firm. Mr. Steele had compiled the dossier and it was leaked to the news media shortly before Mr. Trump was sworn in as president.

In the decision, handed down virtually on Thursday morning, the court ruled that Mr. Trump “has no reasonable grounds for bringing a claim for compensation or damages, and no real prospect of successfully obtaining such a remedy.”

The judge, Karen Steyn, said she had “not considered, or made any determination, as to the accuracy or inaccuracy” of the dossier, and noted that Mr. Trump had said the allegations were “wholly untrue.”

The British court decision is the latest in a long series of failed attempts by Mr. Trump to litigate his political disputes, including unsuccessful efforts to sue The New York Times, CNN, Twitter and more. In 2022, the state of Florida threw out a lawsuit and penalized Mr. Trump for filing a claim against Mr. Steele, Hillary Clinton and others related to the Russia allegations.

And it comes as Mr. Trump faces a slew of legal troubles closer to home, facing multiple lawsuits and felony charges while running a new campaign for the presidency.

Last week, Mr. Trump was found to have defamed the writer E. Jean Carroll and ordered to pay her $83.3 million, after she accused him of a rape decades earlier and he attacked her repeatedly with derisive posts and statements.

Mr. Steele was a long-serving officer with MI6, the British foreign intelligence agency, and the dossier, prepared by his private research firm after his retirement from the agency, was focused on investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

He was contracted in early 2016 by Fusion GPS, a private intelligence firm based in Washington. Fusion had promised to provide opposition research on Mr. Trump to a law firm, Perkins Coie, that had been retained by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Many of the allegations that appeared in the files were never substantiated, and some were proven to be untrue.

In a court filing for the London case, Mr. Trump’s lawyers said the former president had been “compelled to explain to his family, friends, and colleagues that the embarrassing allegations about his private life were untrue. This was extremely distressing.” The former president claimed the dossier violated his data privacy rights and asked for unspecified compensation.

The judge said she agreed with Mr. Steele’s defense team that the statute for limitations on a data privacy claim had expired. The six-year period to bring a claim of this type, she wrote in her judgment, had passed before Mr. Trump had given any indication that he intended to bring a lawsuit.

In reality, the claimant is seeking court findings to vindicate his reputation,” she wrote, “in circumstances where he has not been able to formulate any viable remedy which he would have a real prospect of obtaining, or which would itself be of any utility.”

The files about Mr. Trump, which came to be known as the “Steele dossier,” set off a political storm when they were published in early 2017, and were full of salacious — and unproven — details about purported links between the president and Russia, including reports that Mr. Trump made illicit payments to Russian officials and that Russia had a blackmail tape of him with prostitutes.

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