Trump aims to sue London firm over dossier alleging sexual perversions – The Guardian US
Lawyers for former US president said reports of his alleged sexual activity in Russia were ‘false, phoney or made-up’
Donald Trump has said that a dossier alleging that he engaged in “perverted sexual behaviour” and paid bribes to Russian officials to further his business interests is “false” and “phoney”, and is seeking to sue for damages in London.
The former US president indicated that he was willing to give evidence at the high court in his case alleging breach of data protection rights by Orbis Business Intelligence over the 2016 “Steele dossier”. The dossier, investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential campaign, was compiled by the Orbis co-founder Christopher Steele, who previously ran MI6’s Russia desk.
Trump was not present for the high court hearing, which will determine whether the case can go to trial. However, in a written witness statement, he said: “The only way that I can fully demonstrate the total inaccuracies of the personal data in the dossier is to bring these proceedings and to prove, by evidence at trial, that the data are false.
“A judgment of the English court on this issue will be an immense relief to me as it will completely confirm the true position to the public at large. Until there is such a judgment, I continue to suffer damage and distress as a result of people wrongfully believing that the data in the dossier is accurate.”
Trump is claiming reputational damage as a result of Orbis sharing the dossier, which he said contained “false, phoney or made-up allegations”, with three individuals.
In 2017, it was published by BuzzFeed. Although Trump accepts that Orbis was not legally responsible for this, he said: “If the dossier had not been compiled by Mr Steele on behalf of the defendant, it would never have entered the public domain.”
The document included allegations that Trump hired sex workers to urinate on each other in the presidential suite of a hotel in Moscow and took part in sex parties in St Petersburg.
His lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson KC, told the court that Trump knew he had the legal responsibility to prove that the allegations are false and that he “intends to discharge his burden by giving evidence in this court”.
He added: “It’s uncontroversial for me to say that President Trump is a controversial figure. His interactions with the American legal system have been many and varied and he has sometimes been subject to serious criticism by judges in the US … None of this is relevant to whether the personal data is accurate.”
Trump has been charged with 91 felony counts across criminal cases in New York, Florida, Washington and Georgia, while in the civil courts he has been found liable for sexually abusing and defaming the advice columnist E Jean Carroll, and is accused of inflating his net worth to secure more favourable loan terms and gain tax benefits.
Orbis is seeking to have the case against it struck out before it can go to trial, claiming it has no realistic prospect of success. It says the claim has been brought too late, that any damage to the former US president was caused by the BuzzFeed publication, and that it has been brought for “an improper purpose”.
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In written arguments, Antony White KC, representing Orbis, said: “The claimant’s exceptional and unexplained delay in bringing the claim against Orbis, his pursuit of this case only after similar litigation against Orbis and Mr Steele in the US was dismissed and found to be a meritless, vexatious and politically motivated abuse of the court process, his numerous abusive personal attacks and slurs against Mr Steele, and his extensive track record of using legal proceedings to harass, bully and intimidate his perceived opponents, all lead inexorably to the conclusion that the present claims have been brought for an illegitimate purpose and are therefore an abuse of process.”
White said the current case was lodged weeks after the “abusive” US action against Orbis and Steele was found to be “completely frivolous” and “brought in bad faith” for “the settling of scores and grievances”.
Judgment will be given at a later date.