Dec 19, 2018

Judge sides with BuzzFeed in defamation lawsuit over Steele Dossier

BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A federal judge in Florida sided with BuzzFeed News on Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit over the site's publication of the infamous Steele dossier in January 2017.

Details: The plaintiff, Russian executive Aleksej Gubarev, sued BuzzFeed claiming that statements made about him in the dossier were false, and that no BuzzFeed reporter ever contacted him to "determine whether the allegations that they hacked the Democratic Party had merit." The judge concluded, however, that Gubarev couldn't prove BuzzFeed "made a defamatory statement."

BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith said in a statement that the judge "vindicated" the outlet's decision to publish the dossier: "[I]ts publication has contributed to the American people's understanding of what is happening in their country and their government. We are thrilled by today's outcome, and thank Judge [Ursula] Ungaro for taking the time to consider this case on the merits."

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Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,273,402 — Total deaths: 375,683 — Total recoveries — 2,697,873Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,811,277 — Total deaths: 105,147 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Nearly 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes have been reported to federal health officials —Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country.
  4. Federal government: Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets.
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Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

St. John's clergy: Trump used church as prop, Bible as symbol of division

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Clergy of the historic St. John's Episcopal Church expressed furor and confusion over President Trump's visit on Monday, which he claimed was to honor the establishment after George Floyd protestors sparked a small fire on the property Sunday night.

The big picture: Park rangers and military police deployed tear gas and physical force to disperse peaceful protestors from Lafayette Park, which surrounds the White House, so Trump could walk to "pay respects" to the church — and a St. John's rector on the scene revealed in a Facebook post that she was left "coughing" from the tear gas.

Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted early Tuesday that he'd just left the Bronx and the police commissioner was sending additional assistance to problem areas. Protesters were "overwhelmingly peaceful" Monday, he said. "But some people tonight had nothing to do with the cause + stole + damaged instead," he added.