Meghan handed major boost in legal battled waged by half-sister Samantha Markle
Meghan Markle has been given a major boost in the libel lawsuit battle raised by her sister – after the deadline for evidence sharing was pushed back. Samantha Markle is taking legal action against the Duchess of Sussex, who told Oprah Winfrey that she grew up as an only child in an interview that aired on CBS back in 2021. The same claims were made in passages from the biography Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.
The 58-year-old, also the daughter of Meghan’s estranged dad Thomas Markle, has argued her half-sister made “demonstrably false and malicious statements” in the interview and biography.
She is seeking £62,000 ($75,000) damages in the case lodged in March 2022.
She wants Meghan, Thomas Markle, Prince Harry, her daughter Ashleigh Hale, Kensington Palace communications secretary Jason Knauf and Christopher Bouzy, the founder of Bot Sentinel, to provide evidence to the court.
Meghan’s lawyers are trying to have the case thrown out of the US District Court in Tampa, Florida.
It would mean Meghan is not grilled by Samantha’s lawyers.
But in a major win for Meghan’s team, the deadline has been pushed back to July 3.
The judge has also rejected Samantha’s efforts to force Meghan to arrange the depositions (written statements of witnesses taken before a magistrate or other judicial authority).
Instead, the two sides are to sort the issue out between themselves.
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The order by Magistrate Judge Thomas G. Wilson read: “The defendant [Meghan] states that ‘[m]ost of the proposed non-party deponents have nothing to do with the statements at issue in the [plaintiffs first amended complaint].'”
This ruling will help to take the pressure off Meghan’s legal team. It will be more likely that they will be able to come up with an answer on their motion to dismiss the case before having to hand over any evidence.
Meghan’s lawyers said in a previous court filing: “A deposition of Mr. Markle at this juncture, along with other discovery, would be an unnecessary spectacle and waste of the parties’ time, money, and resources.”
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If Samantha ends up losing the defamation case against her Duchess of Sussex sister, she could be forced to fork out millions of dollars in legal fees.
Former US federal prosecutor Mitchel Epner previously told Express.co.uk: “If Meghan Markle is successful in dismissing, then under what’s called the anti-SLAPP, she would be in a position to get her legal fees paid for by the plaintiff.
“The threat to Samantha Markle that she might end up having to pay Meghan Markle’s legal fees, which given how long this case has gone on, we’re clearly in excess of $100,000.“
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