It may seem like 100 years ago, but it has only been two years since the American public became aware of the dossier compiled by ex-British M16 spy Christopher Steele that confirmed information the FBI had already received regarding the alleged collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russian government operatives.
Tonight's court order in Buzzfeed's favor about their publication of the Steele dossier is fascinating reading.
Buzzfeed's article about it here:https://t.co/SPPX0NvSA3
The ruling here: https://t.co/aH5nQYwYNL
And here's the part where we say Hi Congressman Kinzinger! : pic.twitter.com/jf9bDshjYG
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) December 19, 2018
The following day, BuzzFeed printed the dossier in full, including allegations of a salacious nature about Trump. While some of those allegations are yet unproven and may never be proven, not one piece of the dossier has been debunked.
One subject named in the dossier, Aleksej Gubarev, sued BuzzFeed for defamation over the release. That lawsuit did not go in his favor, as the judge’s ruling shot his lawsuit down.
According to The Daily Beast:
‘A federal judge in Florida sided with BuzzFeed in a defamation lawsuit filed by a Cyprus-based tech CEO over the infamous Steele dossier. Aleksej Gubarev, a CEO named in the dossier, alleged that the document’s statements about him were “false” and that BuzzFeed “never contacted” him to confirm the merits of the allegations—which included claims that he had hacked the Democratic Party.’
NEW: BuzzFeed wins Steele dossier lawsuit https://t.co/SDEEdQ8Lgz
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 19, 2018
Just as the Pentagon Papers and the Snowden papers were allowed when news outlets reported and printed them in full years ago, BuzzFeed was found to have done nothing wrong in printing the dossier because of laws protecting the free press.
‘U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro found that the website was covered by the “fair report privilege,” which protects the press in carrying out functions like providing “the public with the information it needs to exercise oversight of the government and with information concerning the public welfare.” Judge Ungaro found that the fair privilege applied in this case because the dossier was part of an “official proceeding.”’
🚨 Buzzfeed has won the defamation suit a Russian tech entrepreneur brought over the news outlet’s publication of the dossier. The case has been closed by a federal judge in Miami, who decided it in favor of Buzzfeed this afternoon. (via @kpolantz)
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) December 19, 2018
Gubarev is one of the many people accused of coordinating the illegal hacking of the DNC email server as well as the disinformation campaign spread on social media. His role in that campaign has been exposed.
‘The dossier—written by former British spy Christopher Steele—primarily focused on President Trump’s ties with Russia. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the dossier claims Gubarev’s company and its affiliates used “botnets and porn to transmit viruses and steal data to the detriment of the Democratic party.” In a statement, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith said the company was “thrilled by today’s outcome” and thanked Judge Ungaro for “taking the time to consider this case on the merits.”’
Almost two years after @BuzzFeed's publication of the dossier, but very good to see:
"[T]he privilege exists to protect the media while they gather the information needed for the public to exercise effective oversight of the government." https://t.co/Zs7qmDLwo1 pic.twitter.com/fEDtoG2Waa
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) December 19, 2018
Just in case Trump is considering a defamation lawsuit against any of the press for reporting news about him, this case proves that he would be ill-advised to do so.