Former President Donald Trump has alleged in a London-based lawsuit that former British Intelligence Officer Christopher Steele caused him “personal and reputational damage and distress” by leaking a dossier containing distasteful and unproven accounts of ties between him and Russia during the 2016 presidential race, The New York Times reports. Trump’s attorneys argue that Steele’s firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, breached British data protection laws with the file, the release of which triggered a political storm just ahead of Trump’s 2017 inauguration.
The lawsuit, which was originally filed last November, could fair better for Trump in Britain than in the United States, where a Florida federal judge last year dismissed his lawsuit claiming that Steele, as well as Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, was part of a plot to circulate false information about Trump’s relationship to Russia. In a September court filing, lawyers for Trump said he was “compelled to explain to his family, friends, and colleagues that the embarrassing allegations about his private life were untrue. This was extremely distressing” for the former president, the filing continued, adding that Steele had leveled the claims in a “sensationalist manner” that was “calculated to cause tremendous embarrassment” to Trump. The former president seeks unspecified compensation.
The High Court judge presiding over the suit scheduled a two-day hearing for Oct. 16 and 17, during which attorneys for Steele will move to have the case thrown out. In a witness statement, Steele accused the former president of making “numerous public attacks” upon him and his firm, adding that Trump had launched “frivolous and abusive legal proceedings” against him and Orbis in the United States, a statement that mirrors the Florida judge’s ruling.