Former British spy Christopher Steele is resisting efforts to face a deposition in a lawsuit over his infamous dossier.
Steele’s lawyers argued in a court in London that a deposition would put the former spy’s dossier sources at risk as well as endanger U.K. national security interests.
Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian businessman identified in the dossier, is seeking Steele’s deposition as part of a lawsuit against BuzzFeed News, which published the unverified document on Jan. 10, 2017.
The dossier alleges, among other things, that Gubarev used his tech companies to hack into Democrats’ email systems. He is also suing Steele in London, where the ex-MI6 agent is based.
Gubarev’s U.S. attorneys are asking to depose Steele for seven hours in order to find out whether he vetted his sources and the information in the dossier.
But Steele’s lawyers say that he is concerned that the deposition would “require the disclosure of sensitive intelligence information which would endanger UK national security interests and personnel,” Reuters reported.
Steele’s British lawyer, Gavin Millar, also argued that Steele was the target of a “fishing expedition” that could endanger his sources.
“It’s extremely worrying for someone in Mr. Steele’s position,” his lawyers argued.
Steele relied on intermediaries from inside Russia to gather much of the information for the dossier. As a former spy, Steele is not permitted to travel to the country.
Gubarev has struggled to obtain other depositions in the case. Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Steele to investigate then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, has avoided deposition as well.
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