BuzzFeed faces a new lawsuit over its publication of an unverified dossier of claims against President Trump and others, McClatchy reported Friday evening.
McClatchy says XBT Holdings, a tech firm with Russian ties named in the document, is suing BuzzFeed, editor in chief Ben Smith and former British spy Christopher Steele over the January 10 publication of what the suit calls “libelous, unverified and untrue allegations.”
The dossier, which includes uncorroborated allegations about Trump, claims the Cyprus-based XBT, which is owned by Russian tech magnate Aleksej Gubarev, “had been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership” in 2016.
The dossier grabbed international headlines after intelligence officials presented it to Trump and then-President Obama. The U.S. intelligence community says Russia sought to interfere in last year’s election with the intention of electing Trump, and the document — which BuzzFeed published while other news organizations demurred — was presented as evidence that Moscow also sought to compromise Trump himself.
Smith has defended the decision to publish, but in a Friday statement to McClatchy, BuzzFeed apologized over Gubarev’s inclusion.
“We have redacted Mr. Gubarev’s name from the published dossier, and apologize for including it,” spokesman Matt Mittenthal said.
The lawsuit, filed in London and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., seeks unspecified damages. It says BuzzFeed’s story has been viewed nearly 6 millions times.