A federal judge in Florida on Wednesday ruled in favor of BuzzFeed News in a defamation lawsuit over the outlet’s publication of the infamous and unverified Steele dossier.
BuzzFeed published the dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele on Jan. 10, 2017. The 35-page report alleged a vast conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian government to influence the election.
The defamation lawsuit, filed Feb. 2, 2017, focused on allegations made in the final memo against Alexis Gubarev, a Russian tech executive with companies in Cyprus.
In a memo dated Dec. 13, 2016, Steele alleged Gubarev used his web hosting companies to hack into Democrats’ computer networks using viruses, bots and malware. (RELATED: Judge Orders Fusion GPS To Reveal Dossier Details In Lawsuit)
Gubarev vehemently denied the allegation, and after filing his lawsuit, BuzzFeed issued an apology and scrubbed his name from the version of the dossier published online.
Ben Smith, the editor of BuzzFeed, issued a statement claiming vindication in the case.
“As Judge Ungaro affirmed in her ruling, a key principle underlying the First Amendment is that the public has a right to know about actions taken by its government,” Smith said. “As we have said from the start, a document that had been circulating at the highest levels of government, under active investigation by the FBI, and briefed to two successive presidents, is clearly the subject of ‘official action.'”
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