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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are due to be deposed as part of a defamation suit being brought against her by her half-sister, Samantha, after failing to win a pause on the discovery process, a Florida court ruled Tuesday.
The judgement, contained in publicly available court papers first reported by the Daily Mail, sets up the possibility that Meghan and Harry could be grilled and forced to face questions from the legal team of Meghan’s half-sister, on whom she has repeatedly poured invective, suggesting she has cynically exploited their familial relationship.
The new development comes on foot of a defamation suit filed by Samantha at Florida’s Middle Court.
Samantha, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair, wrote in an earlier filing in March last year that she was bringing the action for defamation “based on demonstrably false and malicious statements made by her half-sister to a worldwide audience, including roughly 50 million people in 17 countries who watched the Oprah Winfrey interview with the Defendant, Meghan Markle, and her husband, Prince Harry.”
Samantha alleges that she was defamed by Meghan in the interview when Meghan “falsely and maliciously” said that she was “an only child” and that Samantha “only changed her surname to Markle in her early 50s when Meghan started dating Prince Harry.”
Samantha said she was defamed by Meghan’s implication that she “has created a lucrative career selling false stories to tabloids and television programs when she knows nothing about [Meghan’s] childhood.”
Samantha added that Meghan “orchestrated the campaign to defame and destroy her sister’s and her father’s reputation and credibility in order to preserve and promote the false “rags-to-royalty” narrative Defendant [Meghan] had fabricated about her life to the royal family and the worldwide media.” She then described how her father Thomas Markle, who is also Meghan’s dad, was a high-earning TV lighting director who had paid for her college education.
Meghan hit back in papers filed in September, saying that she was seeking to have the case dismissed and saying that the “harm” caused by “unnecessary discovery” would be “very real.”
However, the Tampa court dismissed those arguments Tuesday, saying that Meghan had failed to show that there were sufficiently “unusual circumstances” to “justify the requested stay.”
Intriguingly, the judge added: “Although a preliminary peek at the Motion to Dismiss suggests that some of the claims against [Meghan] may be ripe for dismissal, the review does not reveal, at this time, a clear indication that the Court will dismiss the action in its entirety.”
As The Daily Beast reported last year, Meghan’s team have said that when she said in the Oprah interview, while discussing her half-sister, that she “grew up as an only child,” Meghan was talking about her “perception” of her childhood, not making “a statement of objective fact that she had no genetic siblings or half-siblings.”
But Samantha claims the remark was intended to portray her as “attempting to cash in on the fact that her barely known half-sister married into the royal family,” saying it made her look like, “an opportunist of the worst kind.”
“She changed her last name back to Markle, she was in her early 50s at that time, only when I started dating Harry, so I think that says enough.”
— Meghan Markle
In the Oprah interview, Meghan said of Samantha: “I don’t feel comfortable talking about people that I really don’t know but I grew up as an only child, which everyone who grew up around me knows, and I wished I had siblings, I would have loved to have had siblings… The last time I saw her [Samantha] must have been at least 18 or 19 years ago, and then before that, 10 years before that.”
She added: “She changed her last name back to Markle, she was in her early 50s at that time, only when I started dating Harry, so I think that says enough.”
If the case goes ahead, Meghan and Harry will have to give a deposition before July.
Samantha is seeking $75,000.
#Meghan #Markle #Prince #Harry #Face #Grilling #Samantha #Markles #Lawyers
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