Donald Trump’s data protection claim for damages over allegations in the “Steele dossier” that he took part in “perverted” sex acts and gave bribes to Russian officials has been dismissed by a high court judge in London.
Judge Steyn agreed with Orbis Business Intelligence, the company founded by the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who compiled the contentious material, that the case should not go to trial.
The ruling issued on Thursday said the court did not “consider or determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of the memoranda” but found that Trump’s claim for damages had been made outside the six-year period of “limitations”.
The court ruled that Trump “has no reasonable grounds for bringing a claim for compensation or damages, and no real prospect of successfully obtaining such a remedy”.
It added that the “only other remedy claimed was for a compliance order erasing or restricting processing of the memoranda” but that this would be “pointless, and unnecessary, in circumstances where the dossier was freely available on the internet, and the defendant had in any event undertaken to delete the copies it held”.
The former US president, who is the frontrunner in the race to be the Republican candidate in this year’s election, had indicated he was willing to give evidence at the high court in the case alleging breach of data protection rights by Orbis Business Intelligence over the 2016 “Steele dossier”.
The report, investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential campaign, was compiled by Steele, who previously ran MI6’s Russia desk, and then published by BuzzFeed in 2017.
The document included allegations that Trump had 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. He denies the claims.
Trump’s lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson KC, had told the court his client knew he had the legal responsibility to prove the allegations were false and that he intended “to discharge his burden by giving evidence in this court”.
Orbis was successful in arguing that the claim had been brought too late.