A federal judge in Florida ruled Monday that a libel lawsuit over the infamous anti-Donald Trump dossier will remain in her Miami courtroom.
U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled against a motion filed by the defendant BuzzFeed, which asked that the case be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The news website also had sought a change of venue to New York where it is headquartered.
BuzzFeed posted the complete 35-page dossier written by former British spy Christopher Steele on Jan. 10.
Mr. Steele accused Russian-born tech entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev of taking part in an elaborate illegal hacking campaign against the Democratic Party during the 2016 election. Mr. Steele said Mr. Gubarev used botnets to bombard the Democrats’ computers with porn and bugging devices.
Mr. Gubarev, founder of server-provider and Florida-based Webzilla, called the dossier fiction and filed a libel suit against BuzzFeed. He also filed a slander suit in London against Mr. Steele, who admitted in a court filing first reported by The Washington Times that he never verified the charge information.
The dossier was circulated in Washington by Democratic-tied Fusion GPS, which paid Mr. Steele.
Judge Ungaro signed an order dismissing BuzzFeed’s argument that trying the case in Florida presented a hardship for Editor Ben Smith and other employees.
She also ordered BuzzFeed to file an answer to Mr. Gubarev charges by June. 9.
“Although we’re confident that the case is strong no matter where it’s tried, we like the Southern District of Florida as a venue,” said Evan Fray Witzer, one of Mr. Gubarev’s attorneys. “They have smart, no-nonsense judges who like to move cases along quickly, which is what we want. The faster this case gets to trial, the faster Mr. Gubarev’s good name and reputation can be vindicated.”
Mr. Gubarev contends that the allegations against him that BuzzFeed posted are false and that no one from the news site contacted him for his side of the story.