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Judge Throws Out Lawsuit, Further Dismissing Myth that Steele Dossier is Debunked



Back on January 10, 2017, BuzzFeed published for the first time, a copy of what is now an extremely controversial document — the Steele Dossier.

The Steele Dossier, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past year and a half, is an intelligence report written by a former British MI6 officer, Christopher Steele.  In it are allegations, some salacious, concerning President Trump and individuals within his orbit.

The dossier tells a story about corruption, secret Russian operations and ultimately ways in which the Russian government had hoped to use a Trump presidency to their benefit.  It also alleges that the Trump campaign took part in what would be considered a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government, if true.

Ever since the release of the dossier, President Trump has called it the “fake”, “debunked” and “discredited” dossier on dozens of occasions. Right wing media has also picked up on this terminology.  However the Steele Dossier has not actually been debunked thus far, and many aspects of it have been corroborated.

Three individuals named in the dossier decided to take the allegations made about them and present them to a U.S. Court in a defamation suit.

Russian billionaires Petr Aven, Mikhail Fridman, and German Khan brought a defamation suit against Christopher Steele, claiming that Steele’s allegations against them were false and of ill-intent.

All three of the men have ownership in Alfa Bank, the bank which Steele claims helped Vladimir Putin interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in addition to other criminal acts.

Judge Anthony C. Epstein of the District of Columbia District Court, however, didn’t see things quite the same way, instead dismissing the case against Steele.

“Advocacy on issues of public interest has the capacity to inform public debate, and thereby furthers the purposes of the First Amendment, regardless of the citizenship or residency of the speakers,” Judge Epstein wrote, as he ruled that the plaintiffs did not prove that Christopher Steele did not act “with reckless disregard as to its falsity.”

In other words, the charges that the dossier are “debunked” and “fake” have actually been debunked to a certain degree themselves.