Meghan Markle’s Lawsuit Against the Publisher of the Mail on Sunday Begins with Emotional Hearing
Last fall, the Sussexes confirmed that Meghan would take legal action against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday. In an unprecedented media statement, the royal couple announced that a lawsuit had been filed for “misuse of private information, violation of copyright and violation of the Data Protection Act 2018”.
More specifically, the trial concerns the Mail on Sunday2018 publication of a private handwritten letter from Meghan to her father, Thomas Markle, shortly after her failed marriage.
Today, the first pre-trial hearing for this lawsuit took place in a virtual courtroom, due to the coronavirus. This strike-out hearing was intended to allow the accused, Associated Newspapers, to request that parts of Meghan’s claim be “struck out” or removed from the scope of the trial. Harry and Meghan were supposed to listen to the debates from a distance.
During the hearing, Meghan’s legal team notably accused Associated Newspapers of “harassing, humiliating, manipulating and exploiting” Thomas Markle, who was described as “vulnerable” in court.
Multiple publications, including Telegraph and the Guardian, also report that the Associated Newspapers defense team argued that Meghan had not had direct contact with her father in more than a year.
According to Telegraph, the court heard that “the last contact between the Duchess and her father by phone was a missed text message on her wedding day – May 19, 2018, and they have since sent each other a letter.”
These missed text messages were described in shared court documents earlier this week.
A message sent a few days before the wedding reads: “Tom, it’s Harry and I’m going to call you now. Please pick it up, thank you,”
Another emotionally charged text reads: “Tom, Harry again! I really need to talk to you. You don’t need to apologize, we understand the circumstances, but “making it public” will only make the situation worse. If you like Meg and want to get it right, give me a call, because there are two other options that don’t involve having to talk to the media, which has created this whole situation. So call me so I can explain it to you. Meg and I are not angry, we just need to talk to you. Thank you.”
And a third said, “Oh, any press speech will backfire on me, believe me Tom. Only we can help you, as we have tried since day one. “
Hearing judge Warby J. is currently reserving judgment, but according to ITV’s Chris Ship, he hopes to make a decision “within a week”. A trial date has not yet been set.