The Associated Press reports that it has asked a judge in Washington to dismiss a libel lawsuit brought by a Russian billionaire with ties to President Vladimir Putin.
Aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska sued in May over an AP report in March that revealed his past business connections to Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for U.S. President Donald Trump.
Deripaska said the story was inaccurate and had hurt his career by falsely accusing him of criminal activity.
AP has stood by the story as accurate, and contended in court papers on July 3 that Deripaska was challenging the story based on his own "strained implications" and incorrect inferences, rather than on information actually conveyed in the report.
The story revealed how Manafort, a decade before joining the Trump campaign, had proposed to Deripaska a confidential business strategy to support pro-Russian political parties and to influence politics, business dealings, and news coverage inside the United States, Europe, and former Soviet republics to benefit Putin's government.
Deripaska's lawsuit contends that the AP story "left the impression" that the billionaire's "private, commercial dealings were -- and still may be -- deeply intertwined with the Trump campaign controversy."
But AP said "the report makes clear that Deripaska's relationship with Manafort ended years ago."