Donald Trump and his supporters have been enraged with ex-British spy Christopher Steele over the dossier he compiled on the former reality show star. Trump was dealt another blow on Monday after a judge in Washington, D.C., ruled in favor of Steele in a libel lawsuit filed by three Russian oligarchs who claimed he defamed them by writing that they tried to influence the 2016 US election.
Judge Anthony Epstein upheld a decision to dismiss the case and said the three Russians had not sufficiently proved that Steele knew any of the information in the document was false, according to The Guardian. The Judge did not determine whether the dossier was accurate or not accurate.
The oligarchs tried to argue that Steele was not entitled to free speech protections under the first amendment because he is not a citizen of the United States.
Epstein disagreed, and wrote in his judgment that “advocacy on issues of public interest has the capacity to inform public debate, and thereby furthers the purposes of the First Amendment, regardless of the citizenship or residency of the speakers”.
It’s worth noting that some parts of the dossier have been verified even though Trump called it “phony and discredited.”
Steele’s attorney, Christy Hull Eikhoff, told The Guardian that the judgment was “thorough, well-reasoned and firmly supported in the law.”
“We will continue to defend against baseless attacks on Chris and hope that the result of this case will be a message to those who seek to intimidate Chris and his company,” she added.
Lawyers for the Russian oligarchs told the BBC in a statement that they would probably appeal the decision.
The dossier was first published by BuzzFeed in 2017. Steele has remained silent even after Trump has publicly lashed out at him on Twitter, calling the former spy a “lowlife.”