With Miami-based U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro's decision to throw out a lawsuit against BuzzFeed News Wednesday, President Donald Trump took a body blow. Ungaro rejected a suit filed by Aleksej Gubarev, the head of Webzilla, an Aventura-based tech company, that asserted BuzzFeed's publication of the so-called Trump dossier, which included allegations of the President's ties to Russia, had been reckless.
The name of Gubarev, who is from Cyprus, appeared in the document, though the website blacked it out. The document alleged he had hacked the Democratic Party. Ungaro decided it was a matter of privilege, which gives media a wide latitude in discussing government proceedings.
The most-discussed part of the memo, which BuzzFeed warned included “specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations,” wasn't about Gubarev at all. It was the alleged existence of a so-called "pee-tape," in which Trump was accused of hiring prostitutes to "defil[e] the bed where [the Obamas] had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a golden showers (urination) show in front of him" in the presidential suite of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow.
BuzzFeed was the first to publish the 35-page document, though many others followed. Trump called it "fake news."
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Ungaro is a
BuzzFeed was represented by, among others, Roy Black, another UM grad who has been involved in many important South Florida cases including the acquittal on rape charges of William Kennedy Smith in Palm Beach in 1991.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Ungaro's decision was welcomed by BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith, who said the memo had "contributed to the American people's understanding of what has happened in their country."
Trump has been in hot water lately as a judge forced
The BuzzFeed decision was important both for freedom of speech and those who believe the President has been a poor steward of American power. As the legal walls close in around him and Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, both his latitude to act and his support are weakening.
And this is good for the United States of America.