Harry and Meghan could be questioned in civil claim

February 9, 2023 10:35 am

[Source: BBC News]

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex could be questioned as part of a US defamation case brought by Meghan’s half-sister.

Samantha Markle is suing Meghan for “defamation and injurious falsehoods”, including claims, in an Oprah Winfrey TV interview, of being an “only child”.

She is seeking $75,000 (£62,000) in damages in a case lodged in March 2022.

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On Tuesday, a judge rejected a bid to stop Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, from having to give evidence in a legal deposition.

A deposition is a formal testimony from a witness or someone involved in a case, given outside of court but under oath.

And the ruling, by Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell, in a district court in Florida, means if the case goes further ahead, Meghan and Prince Harry could have to face such questioning.

Court documents show that Samantha claimed she had a much closer relationship with her half-sister, with “frequent and regular contact” throughout her childhood. And she recalls how their father paid for Meghan’s “expensive” private education and helped launch her acting career.

The claims are accompanied by 38 “requests for admission”, which seek to put statements and questions to Meghan.

This includes the statement: “Your sister Samantha Markle has driven you to school on a regular basis at a certain period of your life.”

According to court documents, the response from Meghan’s legal team is that this is a “vague and ambiguous” request and “not relevant to any party’s claim or defence”.

In response to “You are not an only child,” the reply from Meghan’s lawyers is that “a statement that she grew up or did not grow up as an ‘only child’ cannot be defamatory as a matter of law”.

They argue that a comment about an only child “does not distinguish between biological relations, on the one hand, and the manner in which a child was raised, on the other”.

Other statements in Samantha’s claim, inviting a response, include “Queen Elizabeth was not a racist,” and “King Charles is not a racist,” which drew the reply from Meghan’s lawyers that this was “not relevant to any party’s claim or defence”.