The former British spy who wrote the infamous dossier has been ordered to appear for a deposition in a lawsuit over the salacious document filed in the U.S.
A British court ordered Christopher Steele to testify about his role in compiling the dossier, which alleges that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Steele’s report was funded by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. BuzzFeed News published the 35-page document in Jan. 2017.
Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian businessman named in the dossier, is suing BuzzFeed in Florida and Steele in London. The dossier claims that Gubarev was recruited as a Russian spy and that his web hosting companies were used to infiltrate the DNC’s computer systems.
Gubarev’s lawyers have tried for months to force the London-based Steele to provide a deposition for the lawsuit against BuzzFeed, which is being heard in federal court in Florida.
Steele has resisted the efforts to provide a deposition, arguing that Gubarev’s lawyers are attempting to use his deposition in the BuzzFeed case in order to collect information for use in the lawsuit pending against him in the U.K.
But a British judge sided against that argument.
A judge on the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in London ruled, “it is obvious that the author of the paragraph complained of in the Florida proceedings would be a relevant witness in defamation proceedings which are entirely based on the allegations in that paragraph, in a jurisdiction where the plaintiffs have to prove that the allegations are false,” Fox News reported.
Evan Fray-Witzer, a lawyer for Gubarev, praised the decision.
“We’re thrilled that the English Court has ordered Mr. Steele to sit for his deposition,” Fray-Witzer said. “It was always amazing to us that he could talk as freely as he has to reporters around the world about the dossier, yet refuse to sit for a deposition about the same topics.”
Fray-Witzer told The Daily Caller News Foundation a date has not been set for the deposition, but will likely be held within the next 4-6 weeks.
Fray-Witzer says that his team recently narrowed the scope of the information it sought from Steele. The former MI6 officer has asserted that his deposition could put dossier sources in danger.
Fray-Witzer says that his team has agreed not to ask Steele about his sources. He also says that Steele has chosen not to appeal the decision. “Buzzfeed published information about Mr. Gubarev and his companies that was unverified and untrue and they seem to be hoping to scuttle the deposition of the person most positioned to testify to those facts,” he told TheDCNF.