BuzzFeed is being sued for a report issued in January of unconfirmed data charging Donald Trump of having “deep ties to Russia.”
The lawsuit was filed on Friday in New York Supreme Court by Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan of the Alfa Group who allege “false, damaging and highly inflammatory statements” concerning them and the Alfa Group, “an umbrella term commonly used to describe a number of entities in which Plaintiffs hold significant beneficial interests.”
The lawsuit reads: “BuzzFeed admitted in the Article that the Dossier ‘include[d] specific, unverified and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives and that it ‘is not just unconfirmed: It includes some clear errors. The [Dossier] misspells the name of one company, ‘Alpha Group,’ throughout. It is Alfa Group.'”
However, even though BuzzFeed “expressly acknowledged the unverified and potentially unverifiable nature of the Dossier’s allegations, BuzzFeed published the unredacted Dossier and the Article anyway — without first affording the Plaintiffs an opportunity to address the unverified allegations made against them and against Alfa in the Dossier,” the lawsuit reads.
What does the lawsuit contain?
According to the lawsuit, the BuzzFeed report alleged to include “explosive – but unverified – allegations that the Russian government has been cultivating, supporting and assisting [then] President-elect Donald Trump for years and gained compromising information on him,” including “specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives.”
However, the data in the report contained misleading information about the Alfa Group.
“Because the Article clarified that the Dossier’s reference to ‘Alpha’ Group was a misspelling of Alfa, readers .. are given the impression that the various companies that bear the name ‘Alfa’ or are closely related to Alfa – as well as the persons who are officials and employees of companies that are a part of the ‘Alfa Group’ – are implicated in the scandalous allegations involving Russia and President Trump,” the complaint reads .”That alone is defamatory, i.e., it suggests that Alfa and its officials and employees ‘co-operated’ with a Kremlin campaign to interfere in the U.S. Presidential election.”
BuzzFeed commented on the complaint and described the suit as a “shameless attempt to bully and intimidate BuzzFeed News.”