BuzzFeed is in some hot water following a pending libel lawsuit regarding the publishing of the Trump dossier.
Buzzfeed is claiming the defense that they were enjoying “fair reporting privilege” because the dossier was part of an FBI investigation. However, the Justice Department says that the Jan. 10 release of the dossier was not part of any probe and therefore is not a government document.
BuzzFeed has requested for a judge to compel testimony from the FBI to discuss how they handled the dossier and what was told to President Donald Trump.
The website is defending itself against the libel suit. Aleksej Gubarev, chief of XBT holdings and Webzilla, brought the suit against BuzzFeed.
The dossier accuses Gubarev of hacking the Democratic Party computers with spyware and porn under orders from Russia’s counter-intelligence agency, FSB. Gubarev denies the charges and is also suing the dossier author, Christopher Steele.
The Justice Department is accusing BuzzFeed of “gross mischaracterization.”
“‘Although the Article states that BuzzFeed decided to publish the so-called Dossier to provide readers an opportunity to ‘make up their own mind’ and it’s explosive but unverified allegations, BuzzFeed now contends in its motion to compel that the Article is nothing more than a report on official government proceedings,’ the Justice lawyers wrote.
‘Even a cursory review of the Article — which consists of less than 500 words of text and an embedded 35-page document — reveals that it does not actually ‘report’ that the Dossier has been the subject of official government activity,’ the Justice lawyers added.”
The release of the dossier aligned with the bureau opening a criminal investigation into collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. CNN reported they used the dossier to obtain warrants.
Gubarev accuses BuzzFeed of publishing the Dossier, not for the good of the public, but only to get more traffic to their website.
“‘They intentionally published a document simply or the salacious value,’ Mr. Gurvits said. ‘Simply for the shock value to get traffic to their website.'”