Trump Faces $382,000 Legal Fee Bill Following Failed ‘Steele Dossier’ Lawsuit

By: Georgia | Published: Mar 08, 2024

A British judge has ruled that former President Donald Trump must pay $382,000 in legal fees to Orbis Business Intelligence, the company he sued unsuccessfully regarding the “Steele Dossier.” 

This dossier became a subject of major public interest following Trump’s election in 2016. The legal decision comes after the lawsuit was dismissed, with the judge stating the suit was “bound to fail.”

The Outcome of Trump's Lawsuit Against Orbis

Following the dismissal of Trump’s lawsuit last month, the legal fees were assessed, and Trump was ordered to pay Orbis Business Intelligence. 

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The case centered on the “Steele Dossier,” which contained controversial allegations against Trump. 


Trump's Legal Challenges in the United States and Abroad

While this London case unfolds, Trump remains a central figure in numerous legal challenges across the United States. 

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He faces criminal and civil complaints that continue to draw significant attention, highlighting the extensive legal battles he is involved in concurrently.

Background on the Steele Dossier

The “Steele Dossier” contains a series of memos that were compiled by Christopher Steele, detailing Trump’s alleged connections with Russia. 

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These memos included unverified claims that have fueled widespread media and public attention, adding layers of controversy to Trump’s political and personal life. These allegations have been strongly denied by Trump, who has consistently refuted the claims made in the Steele dossier, labeling them as baseless and damaging to his reputation.

The Publication of the Steele Dossier

The Steele dossier gained widespread attention when it was published by BuzzFeed. 

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This publication brought the contents of the dossier into the public domain, significantly amplifying its impact and the ensuing legal and political discussions.

Details of Trump's Legal Battle in London

In London, Trump targeted Orbis Business Intelligence, suing the firm over the dissemination of the Steele dossier. 

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This legal move was part of Trump’s broader strategy to address and challenge the allegations made against him in the dossier.


Trump's Claims of Damage and Distress

The New York Post reports that Trump, at 77 years old, reportedly endured “personal and reputational damage and distress” due to the allegations in the Steele dossier, as articulated by his lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson. 

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The argument presented was that Steele, an ex-MI6 agent, had violated British data privacy laws by disseminating inaccuracies about Trump. Trump himself, in a witness statement, asserted that the claims within the dossier were “wholly untrue.”


Trump's Legal Representation and Responses

Trump’s legal team has been actively involved in addressing the various allegations and lawsuits he faces. 

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Despite the numerous legal challenges, Trump’s representatives continue to defend his interests and challenge the outcomes that are unfavorable to him.


Judicial Considerations in the Legal Fee Decision

In a detailed examination of the legal fees claimed by Orbis, which amounted to £634,000 ($809,000), Judge Karen Steyn decided to significantly reduce these costs by more than 50%. 

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Her rationale was that the claimed amount seemed excessive given that the court proceedings lasted only one day. 


A Glimpse into Trump's Legal Journey

In 2022, a pivotal moment occurred when a U.S. federal judge in Florida dismissed a lawsuit filed by Trump against Christopher Steele, Hillary Clinton, and former top FBI officials. 

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Trump had accused them of fabricating the Russia investigation that cast a long shadow over his presidency. 


Trump's Mounting Legal Costs

The legal fees Trump is ordered to pay in London are just one part of the extensive legal expenses he is incurring. 

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His ongoing legal challenges have necessitated substantial payments to attorneys, with costs running into millions of dollars for his defense. Forbes reports that according to Federal Election Commission filings, Trump’s Save America PAC has disbursed nearly $40 million in legal fees from the time of his first indictment on March 30, 2023, until the end of that year. 


Trump's Future Legal Financial Obligations

The financial implications of Trump’s legal challenges are far from over. Besides the current legal fee obligations, Trump is entangled in various civil lawsuits, including those filed by lawmakers and Capitol police officers linking him to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. 

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Additionally, Trump faces four separate indictments on criminal charges in various courts. The outcomes of these cases could impose further financial burdens, potentially totaling $11.2 million in fines alone, should he be convicted on all charges and levied the maximum fines.