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2016 elections

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

Donald Trump wants to give evidence in London court over ‘Steele dossier’
Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a Club 47 USA event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA, 11 October 2023. Club 47 USA Inc is a corporation formed to support the agenda and re-election of Trump. The US presidental election will be held on 05 November 2024. EPA-EFE/CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH

LONDON, Oct 16 (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 front-runner 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 and Orbis co-founder Christopher Steele.

The document, which was later published by the BuzzFeed website, 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 denies the allegations made in what his lawyers described as “the now notorious Steele dossier”, including that he engaged in perverted sexual behaviour in Russia and that he paid bribes to Russian officials to further his business interests.

He is seeking compensation for “personal and reputational damage and distress”, which Trump’s lawyers say were caused by the “false, intrusive and damaging allegations about (his) personal life”.

Trump’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson told London’s High Court: “President Trump brings this case because he seeks vindication of his legal rights.”

 

‘SHOCKING AND SCANDALOUS’

Trump wants to prove that the “shocking and scandalous claims” in the Steele dossier are false and “intends to discharge that burden by giving evidence in this court”, Tomlinson said.

But 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”.

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.

By Sam Tobin

(Reporting by Sam Tobin, editing by Ed Osmond and Christina Fincher)

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