BuzzFeed Has No Evidence to Prove Claims in Dodgy Dossier – Lawyer
AP Photo/ Brennan LinsleyUS01:17 27.02.2018(updated 01:22 27.02.2018) Get short URL
Computers owned by Russian entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev that were allegedly used to steal the 2016 US presidential election contain none of the IP addresses involved in the hacks, according to a filing from the plaintiff in the ongoing libel lawsuit filed by Gubarev against BuzzFeed.
Val Gurvits of Boston Law Group, who represents Gubarev, told the Washington Times that he provided the Florida federal court hearing the case with all requested information. “We have provided them with everything they requested, as ordered by the court, related to these IP addresses,” Gurvits said.
“I can confirm that there is absolutely no evidence or reason to believe that these IP addresses or any other XBT IP addresses were involved in the DNC hack or had anything to do with the allegations against my clients in the dossier.”
Ten days before Donald Trump was sworn in as US president, on January 10, 2017, BuzzFeed published a 35-page dossier compiled by opposition research firm Fusion GPS and former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. The now-infamous document is full of scandalous accusations regarding Trump’s relationship with Russian government and business leaders. Thirteen months hence and the vast majority of the allegations have yet to be supported by any outside evidence.
BuzzFeed themselves admitted that the dossier included “clear errors,” but that didn’t stop them from publishing it. Aside from the most notorious section — that Trump traveled to Moscow to watch Russian sex workers urinate on a bed for his own sexual gratification — the dossier also claimed that Russian business leaders used Trump as their puppet while Kremlin-backed Russian hackers colluded with the Trump campaign to discredit his chief political rival, Hillary Clinton.
We won’t dwell on the pee. Shortly after the dossier’s publication, BuzzFeed was slapped with a lawsuit from Gubarev, billionaire CEO of web-hosting company XBT Holdings. The dossier alleged that Gubarev had assisted in hacking the Democratic National Committee, a charge that he called false and libelous.
BuzzFeed’s legal defense hinges on proving the contents of the dossier are true. The 13 IP addresses in question were a centerpiece of the defense. “There [are] specific investigative reports that have identified these specific IP addresses on your network that the government… [has] found have some suspicious connection to exactly what this lawsuit is about,” said BuzzFeed attorney Nathan Siegel when he requested the IP addresses.
After all, if the allegations prove to be true, BuzzFeed has not committed libel. To that end, they have also hired former FBI special agent Anthony Ferrante, who served as a cybersecurity expert on the National Security Council of former President Barack Obama — meaning he has inside knowledge about the response to the alleged Russian hack of the Democratic National Convention in 2016, when Obama was still president.
“They can hire Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown or Sherlock Holmes,” Gurvits said on Ferrante’s hiring. “You can’t find what doesn’t exist. There is a simple reason why BuzzFeed hasn’t found any evidence to support the allegations in the dossier against Mr. Gubarev. The allegations are false.”
Gubarev won a big victory in a separate lawsuit against Steele in December, when the ex-spy admitted that his claims against Gubarev were unsolicited and unverified.