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31 January 2024

Trump to learn whether High Court claim over 'perverted sex act' allegations can continue

31 January 2024

Donald Trump is set to discover whether his High Court claim over allegations he took part in “perverted” sex acts and gave bribes to Russian officials can continue.

The former US president, 77, is bringing a data protection claim against Orbis Business Intelligence – a consultancy founded by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele – and is seeking compensation for distress.

Mr Steele, who previously ran the Secret Intelligence Service’s Russia desk, was the author of the so-called Steele dossier which included denied allegations Mr Trump had been “compromised” by the Russian security service, the FSB.

At a hearing in October, the court was told Mr Trump is bringing his case over two memos in the dossier which claimed he had taken part in “sex parties” while in St Petersburg and engaged in “golden showers” with prostitutes in Moscow.

But lawyers for Orbis asked for Mr Trump’s claim to be thrown out, telling the court it was “brought for the purpose of harassing Orbis and Mr Steele and pursuing longstanding grievances”.

Mrs Justice Steyn is to give her ruling on whether Mr Trump’s claim can continue on Thursday.

The High Court in London previously heard Mr Trump accepts Orbis is not responsible for the publication of the dossier – as it was leaked to and published by BuzzFeed – but claims his data was processed by the consultancy.

Hugh Tomlinson KC, for the former president, said Mr Trump knows he has the legal responsibility to prove the allegations are false in this case, and that he “intends to discharge his burden by giving evidence in this court”.

In written submissions, the barrister said Orbis is accused of unlawfully processing Mr Trump’s personal data, causing him “serious distress and reputational damage”.

However, Antony White KC, for the consultancy, said in written submissions the case “has no realistic prospect of success” and has been brought too late.

He said: “The claim for compensation is principally based on reputational damage allegedly suffered by the claimant.

“This claim is bound to fail on limitation grounds and because any reputational damage, and any resulting distress, allegedly suffered will have been caused by the BuzzFeed publication, for which the claimant accepts Orbis is not liable.”

Mr White said the dossier was never intended to be made public and all copies of the memos held by Orbis were destroyed in 2017.

The barrister later said Mr Trump’s case had been brought to pursue a “vendetta” against Orbis and Mr Steele.

Mrs Justice Steyn is due to give her ruling remotely at 10am on Thursday.

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