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Federal Judge Orders Release of Christopher Steele Deposition

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A federal judge in Florida on Thursday ordered the release of depositions given by former British spy Christopher Steele and a longtime associate of John McCain’s in a lawsuit filed against BuzzFeed regarding Steele’s anti-Trump dossier.

U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro overruled requests by Steele and David Kramer, the former McCain associate, to keep depositions that they gave in the BuzzFeed lawsuit under seal. On Dec. 19, Ungaro dismissed a lawsuit filed against BuzzFeed by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian businessman accused in the dossier of using his companies to hack into DNC computers.

The depositions by Steele and Kramer, a former State Department official, are likely to shed light on how the dossier was compiled and disseminated to U.S. government officials and the media. Ungaro ordered the documents’ release on March 14.

Kramer, a former State Department official, provided the dossier to a BuzzFeed reporter on Dec. 28, 2016, several weeks after meeting with Steele in London.

Steele was hired in June 2016 by opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. He produced 17 separate memos dated between June 20, 2016 and Dec. 13, 2016, alleging a vast conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Kremlin to influence the election.

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Though the document remains unverified, the FBI cited Steele’s report extensively in applications to obtain surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The dossier suffered a heavy blow Wednesday, during the congressional testimony of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. Cohen denied under oath that he visited Prague during the 2016 campaign, as the dossier alleges.

Steele, a former MI6 official, alleged that Cohen visited Kremlin officials in Prague to discuss paying off Russian hackers.

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