British judge orders Trump to pay around $385,000 in legal costs after dismissing lawsuit against Christopher Steele over false 'dossier'

 March 8, 2024

While former President Donald Trump has recently been on a winning streak politically, his track record in his multiple ongoing legal battles has been more balanced between losses and wins.

Trump just suffered another setback on the legal front when a British judge ruled Thursday that the former president needed to pay the six-figure legal costs incurred by former British spy Christopher Steele following the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Trump, the Associated Press reported.

That lawsuit claiming reputational damage was filed against Steele, the author of the debunked and unproven anti-Trump "Steele Dossier" in 2016, and his consulting firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, but was dismissed by the London judge last month as being "bound to fail."

Lawsuit was dismissed last month

Axios reported last month that former President Trump filed his lawsuit in British court against Steele and Orbis on the claims that Steele's unverified anti-Trump dossier, which was full of unproven claims of Russian collusion and other salacious assertions, not only caused Trump substantial reputational damage but also violated data protection laws in the U.K.

British Judge Karen Steyn disagreed, however, and ruled on Feb. 1 that there were "no compelling reasons" to let the lawsuit proceed, as Trump had "chosen to allow many years to elapse -- without any attempt to vindicate his reputation in this jurisdiction -- since he was first made aware of the dossier."

Though she acknowledged that she did not "consider or determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of the memoranda," she nonetheless concluded that Trump's "claim for compensation and/or damages ... is bound to fail."

At that time, Steele and Orbis said they were "delighted" by the dismissal of the "vexatious litigation" against them, and argued that Trump "brought this claim in an attempt to exact revenge on Orbis and to chill free speech and legitimate investigations."

They also asserted, according to the AP, that the lawsuit deserved to be dismissed since Steele had never intended the dossier to be made public -- it was published by Buzzfeed without any requests for approval -- and because he'd never attested to the veracity of the false claims made therein.

Ordered to pay roughly $385,000 in legal costs

Now more than a month after that lawsuit was dismissed, CNN reported that the same British judge has ordered former President Trump to pay the legal costs racked up by Steele and Orbis in defending against that litigation, which equates to roughly $385,000.

Steele and Orbis had initially asked the court to force Trump to pay upwards of $816,000 in claimed legal costs, though that request was later lowered to around $569,000.

Trump's legal team balked at the exorbitant ask, especially given the fact the lawsuit had been summarily dismissed so quickly, even before the defense attorneys had to really do anything, which appears to have led the judge to reduce the initially requested amount in legal fees by more than half in her decision.

Deserved justice and compensation denied

The dismissal of Trump's lawsuit against Steele and Orbis, who were hired by Democratic operatives aligned with Hillary Clinton's campaign and tasked with digging up dirt against the 2016 GOP nominee, was already bad enough, but that has now been compounded with the order to pay the outrageous legal costs of the former British spy and his company.

That false and uncorroborated dossier, full of unproven "shocking and scandalous claims" about Trump and Russia and alleged sexual proclivities, did indeed cause reputational and political damage to the former president, as it was used as the basis for an FBI and special counsel investigation, for countless partisan media attacks, and is still believed wholeheartedly by some despite being significantly debunked over the years.

Unfortunately, the British court is not the only realm to deny Trump the justice and recompense he deserves, as the AP noted that a U.S. court in 2022 had likewise dismissed a similar lawsuit Trump filed in Florida against Steele, Hillary Clinton, and former FBI officials over their production and use of the fake dossier against him.

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