A third figure in the Russia probe has filed a slander lawsuit as a direct result of the infamous Democrat-financed dossier that helped prompt the FBI to investigate purported collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Moscow.
Carter Page, a former low-level Trump volunteer acting as his own attorney, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan against Yahoo News and HuffPost (formerly The Huffington Post) through owner Oath Inc.
Mr. Page, an energy investor who does business in Russia and lived in Moscow for a time, charges that the two news outlets libeled him by repeating dossier accusations that he met two Kremlin figures in July 2016 and tried to negotiate an end to U.S. sanctions.
The false charges, he says, brought him “irreparable damage” and subjected him to voicemail death threats. He seeks $75,000 in damages.
Previously, a Russian tech entrepreneur and Russian bank owners filed defamation lawsuits against news outlets that posted the dossier.
Since the day the now-discredited dossier was posted online by BuzzFeed in January, Mr. Page has steadfastly maintained that he never held such a meeting and provided his denial to FBI agents. He repeats the denial in his legal filing, which provides a voluminous chronology of how the dossier made an obscure New York investor a vehicle for liberal rage against President Trump.
Glenn R. Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter turned liberal opposition researcher, circulated the dossier during the campaign to a number of news sites. Financed by a Hillary Clinton backer, the document was produced in sequential memos by former British spy Christopher Steele, who relied principally on paid Kremlin sources.
By September last year, the first significant dossier-based article appeared in Yahoo News by Michael Isikoff, who has produced a number of Washington scoops over several decades. The story told of Mr. Carter’s supposed illicit meetings in Moscow, where he had traveled that summer to give a public speech to a university.
Yahoo News did not quote the dossier as its source, but instead cited intelligence sources. The actual source was the Democratic-paid Mr. Steele, who briefed a number a liberal media sites at the behest of Mr. Simpson and his Fusion GPS intelligence firm.
The Yahoo story set off a firestorm. HuffPost published follow-up articles. The Clinton campaign issued press releases on how Mr. Carter was part of Trump-Russia collusion. The Clinton camp attacked Mr. Carter on TV and radio.
Yahoo and HuffPost are part of Verizon’s digital media holdings and controlled by the subsidiary Oath Inc., which Mr. Carter sued.
Oath did not return email inquiries from The Washington Times.
Mr. Carter says he was being assaulted for something he never did. He says Igor Diveykin, a shadowy Kremlin figure, was unknown to him. He says he has never met the other mentioned man, Rosneft Oil Co. chief Igor Sechin.
Both are U.S.-sanctioned operatives.
“The subsidiaries of Oath played the preeminent role in the destruction of Dr. Page’s reputation and led to many associated threats to his life, particularly as it relates to the Defendants’ false accusations that he met with Mr. Sechin and Mr. Diveykin,” the lawsuit claims.
“On September 23, 2016, in perhaps the most dangerous, reckless, irresponsible and historically instrumental moments in modern-day sensational crime story journalism, the Yahoo News department of defendant Oath subsidiary Yahoo chose to publish a highly misleading article filled with false allegations,” the lawsuit charges. “In each instance, Dr. Page has never met with either of these individuals at any point in his life.”
Mr. Page, a 46-year-old former Navy officer, holds a Ph.D. from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, Department of Near and Middle East Studies.
Asked why he is representing himself, Mr. Page said in a text message, “Since serving as the Legal Officer on my ship in the U.S. Navy, I have done a tremendous amount of legal work throughout my career including serving as General Counsel for Global Energy Capital LLC for many years. Over the time to come, I look forward to the opportunity to defend myself against the defamatory attacks of the past year. Although I’ve received some valuable legal help from time-to-time amidst the Witch Hunt last year, I was glad to prevail in my prior pro se battles and look forward to successfully completing my civil action with a bit of outside support as well.”
Mr. Steele and his Kremlin sources made another charge of criminal conduct against Mr. Carter.
Mr. Steele’s Kremlin sources said Mr. Carter and Trump campaign manger Paul Manafort orchestrated the Russian computer hacking on Democrats in collusion with Russian intelligence.
Both men have called the charge ludicrous. Mr. Carter said he never heard of any hacking until it reached the news media in June 2016. He said he has never met Mr. Manafort.
The FBI has used the dossier to guide its questioning of subjects.
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, went to extraordinary lengths to obtain the dossier through an aide who traveled to London. The senator, an ardent Trump opponent, hand-delivered it to FBI Director James B. Comey.
Mr. Comey likely had obtained the document by then because it was circulating in liberal media and political circles.
Democrats, especially Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, have willfully repeated the dossier’s unproven charges.
Mr. Schiff read some of them into the record at a committee hearing in March. He specifically repeated charges against Mr. Page, who responded with a letter asserting his innocence and decrying Mr. Schiff’s tactics.
The dossier represents the kind of foreign influence in campaigns that Democrats have decried in the Trump-Russia probe. The dossier was based on Kremlin sources and used to influence the 2016 campaign and fuel subsequent political attacks on the White House.
Two other slander lawsuits have been brought in courts in the U.S. and London over dossier accusations.
Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian-born technology mogul, sued BuzzFeed in Florida, and Mr. Steele and his Orbis Business Intelligence in London.
Mr. Steele’s last dossier memo, filed in December, accused Mr. Gubarev of mounting a botnet operation to attack Democratic Party computers with pornography and spyware.
What is interesting in the London case file is a declaration from Mr. Steele that he never verified any of the charges against Mr. Gubarev and that the dossier never should have been made public.
It raises the question of how many other Steele charges were unverified and whether most of it is unconfirmed Kremlin gossip that was given to Washington journalists to confirm.
An analysis by The Washington Times shows that the dossier contains eight major charges of criminal wrongdoing against Trump people and others such as Mr. Gubarev. No charge has been confirmed by any official public finding. Some have been disproved, as the Gubarev lawsuit revealed.
A third slander lawsuit was brought in May against BuzzFeed by the Russian bank Alfa. Its owners say they were defamed by dossier accusations that they paid bribes to Russian President Vladimir Putin.