Tech Executive Wants Trump Dossier Author To Testify In BuzzFeed Lawsuit
The former British spy who wrote the so-called Trump dossier could be forced to testify before a U.S. court in the near future.
Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian tech executive suing BuzzFeed News, is asking a federal judge for help in compelling the testimony of Christopher Steele, whose 35 page dossier of Trump research was published by BuzzFeed in January.
On Wednesday, Gubarev’s lawyers filed a motion in the U.S. District Court of Southern Florida asking the judge on the case, Ursula Ungaro, to submit a request for international judicial assistance with a court in London, where Steele lives and works.
“As Mr. Steele is a British citizen residing in London, he is beyond the jurisdiction of this or any American Court,” Gubarev’s lawyers wrote in a motion. “Thus, Plaintiffs will not be able to compel the testimony of Mr. Steele at trial.”
Gubarev is suing BuzzFeed in federal court for defamation because the dossier, published on Jan. 10, alleged that his computer firms, which are based in Cyprus but operate in the U.S., used computer viruses and malware to infiltrate Democrats’ emails during the presidential campaign.
Gubarev emphatically denies the claims and has complained that BuzzFeed failed to reach out to him for comment before publishing the dossier.
He is also suing Steele in London, where the former MI6 agent operates his private spy firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.
Gubarev wants Steele to answer a series of questions about his work on the dossier and with Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired him last June.
Fusion GPS, which was founded by former Wall Street Journal reporters, was working for an ally of Hillary Clinton’s when it hired Steele.
According to the request filed Wednesday, Gubarev wants Steele to reveal what instructions were given to him to prepare the dossier as well as information about payments he received for work on the document, how he obtained information for it, and how he prepared it.
Gubarev also wants to know how Steele solicited information for the dossier, who his sources were, and whether he tried to verify the allegations made in the memos.
Also of interest to Gubarev is how Steele distributed the dossier. He has already stated in a London court that he discussed some of the claims in the dossier with reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo! News and Mother Jones.
Yahoo and Mother Jones ran articles based on some of the information in September and October, respectively.
Steele also stated in the London court that Fusion GPS directed him to discuss his findings withe those media outlets. A Fusion GPS employee also attended meetings with Steele and reporters.
Steele also gave a copy of the most of the entries in the dossier to David Kramer, a former State Department official and associate of Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Kramer flew to London to meet with Steele in late November. He obtained the dossier and provided a copy to McCain. The Republican lawmaker would go on to share a copy with then-FBI Director James Comey.
That version of the dossier did not contain the memo regarding Gubarev. Steele did not write that entry until Dec. 13, a week after McCain provided Comey with the dossier.
Steele has acknowledged in court papers filed in London that he did not verify the information laid out in that Dec. 13 memo. That admission raises questions about the rest of the entries in the dossier, which the FBI has reportedly used as part of the basis for its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
In his complaint against BuzzFeed, Gubarev noted that the website initially did not block out his name from the document, though the name of the source who made the claim about the executive was redacted.
Gubarev’s lawyers say in the court filing that BuzzFeed’s attorneys do not object to compelling Steele to testify in the U.S. They note that BuzzFeed has reserved the right to cross-examine Steele.
Steele would be under oath during his testimony. It is not clear where he would testify. It is possible that his testimony could be videotaped from London.
The former British spy who wrote the so-called Trump dossier could be forced to testify before a U.S. court in the near future. Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian tech executive suing BuzzFeed News, is asking
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