The most widely circulated claim in former British spy Christopher Steele’s anti-Donald Trump dossier will be contested during an upcoming trial, special counsel John Durham’s team revealed in a court document that was unsealed on Sept. 13.
The claim that Trump engaged in lurid sexual activity at a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow, which was featured in Steele’s dossier, will be contested by a German citizen who used to be the general manager of the hotel, prosecutors with the team said.
Bernd Kuhlen, the former manager, doesn’t speak Russian and doesn’t recall ever meeting with or speaking with Igor Danchenko, who has identified himself as the intermediary for the unsubstantiated claim, according to the court document.
“Mr. Kuhlen also has denied (1) having knowledge of the Ritz-Carlton Allegations at any time prior to their being reported in the media, (2) discussing such allegations with, or hearing them from, the defendant,” prosecutors said. “Mr. Kuhlen also has confirmed to the Government and will testify at trial that he was the only ‘western’ member of management at the hotel in June 2016. In short, the Government intends to prove at trial that the defendant falsely sought to attribute the Ritz Carlton Allegations to Mr. Kuhlen” and businessman Sergei Millian.
Danchenko is set to go on trial in October on five counts of lying to the FBI about where he received information that he conveyed to Steele for the dossier, which was paid for by Trump’s election opponent Hillary Clinton and other Democrats.
Many claims in the dossier have been rejected by U.S. authorities, and others remain unsubstantiated to this day.
Durham’s team hadn’t previously identified any people it plans to call in Danchenko’s trial.
The motion containing the information was filed under seal on Sept. 4. Prosecutors asked a judge on Sept. 13 to make it public, and he quickly agreed.
Steele claimed in the dossier that Trump engaged in sexual activity at the hotel. Danchenko reported the claims to Steele in July 2016. The dossier portion containing the claims was dated June 20, 2016.