[Ed. – This isn’t all that big a deal. It doesn’t validate the dossier in any way; the decision hinged on whether Steele had the intention to defame Alfa Bank when he shopped material from the dossier to the media in 2016. The judge found that that wasn’t Steele’s motive. Which in my view is not a faulty ruling. It wasn’t Steele’s motive for urging dossier material on his media contacts. Alfa Bank plans to appeal; the real import of this is for what might be learned through discovery in this and related defamation cases involving the dossier. For now, that avenue for unearthing information is closed, at least for this case.]
The author of the explosive dossier outlining the president’s alleged ties to Russia won an important legal victory on Monday, when a judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought against his firm by the co-founders of Russia’s largest private bank,
In his decision to toss the case “with prejudice”—that is, permanently—Judge Anthony C. Epstein of the Washington, D.C. Superior Court concluded that the author of the dossier, former British intelligence officer agent Christopher Steele, acted “in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest” when he decided to brief reporters on the dossier’s findings in the summer of 2016. Steele’s conduct is therefore protected by “anti-SLAPP” statutes, according to the judge, which aim to halt lawsuits brought to chill the exercise of constitutionally protected free speech.