LONDON – A judge in London is hearing the final stage on Wednesday of the Duchess of Sussex’s lawsuit against the British newspaper for breach of confidentiality, as Megan is trying to keep the names of five of her friends out of the public eye.
Former Megan Markle is suing the publisher of the Sunday Mail newspaper and the MailOnline website in the UK High Court over five articles that published parts of a handwritten letter she wrote to her expelled father, Thomas Markle, after marrying Prince Harry in 2018.
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Megan, 38, is seeking damages from Associated Newspapers Ltd. for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and data protection. Associated newspapers said it would strongly challenge the lawsuit.
At a one-day pre-trial hearing, Judge Mark Warby is considering Megan’s attorneys’ ban on publishing the personal data of friends who spoke anonymously to People magazine in early 2019 to condemn the alleged abuse she received from the British press.
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The newspaper’s lawyers claim that it was Megan’s friends who brought this letter to the public domain, describing it in the article “People”. Associated newspapers claim that friends’ evidence “underlies the case” and that their identities should be known.
The Duchess’s lawyer, Justin Rushbrook, argued that the court was obliged to “protect the identity of confidential journalistic sources”.
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Associated newspapers claimed that the information about the letter to Thomas Markle, disclosed in the People article, should have come “directly or indirectly” from the Duchess.
But Rashbrook said Megan didn’t know at the time that her friends were speaking to the magazine. According to him, anonymous interviews were conducted by one of the five friends, who was concerned about media criticism of the Duchess, who was pregnant with her first child at the time.
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The lawyer said Megan “did not know in advance that any reference would be made to the letter” and did not even know that interviews would be conducted.
In a statement from witnesses in the case, the Duchess said that “each of these women is a private citizen, a young mother, and each has a fundamental right to privacy.”
“These five women are not being tried, and I am not,” she wrote. “The publisher of the post office is being tested on Sunday. It is this publisher who has acted illegally and is trying to evade responsibility; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case – so that the Post Office would illegally publish my private letter on Sunday. “
American actress Megan Markle, a former star of the television legal drama “Costumes”, married the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II Harry at a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son Archie was born the following year,
In January, the couple announced that they were relinquishing their royal duties and moved to North America, citing what they said was unbearable interference from the British media.
Neither Harry nor Megan were in court at Wednesday’s hearing.