The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, filed a motion to dismiss the defamation lawsuit this past Monday brought against her by her half-sister Samantha Markle, describing the case as “without merit” and based on allegations that are “demonstrably false.”
The duchess also requested a Florida federal court to order her half-sister to cover attorneys’ fees.
Meghan Markle Takes Legal Action to Make Sure Half-Sister’s Defamation Lawsuit Has No Merit
Samantha, 57, alleged that Meghan “published and disseminated false and malicious lies designed to destroy [her] reputation” and exposed her to “humiliation, shame and hatred on a worldwide scale” in order to paint a false narrative of her childhood, per the complaint filed March 3.
Markle is suing the duchess for damages in excess of $75,000, claiming harm to her reputation as well as lost employment and lost income from the sale of her autobiography The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister.
“We feel confident that we’ll survive a motion to dismiss based on the allegations and the specific falsities that were made by [the duchess],” Markle’s attorney Jamie Sasson told BuzzFeed News Friday.
And while Samantha Markle claims that her half-sister made three defamatory statements during Meghan’s March 2021 blockbuster interview with Oprah Winfrey, the majority of the case concerns information reported in a 2020 biography of Meghan and her husband Prince Harry titled Finding Freedom.
Finding Freedom, written by reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, is a biography of Meghan and Harry that has been coined as a “hagiography” by the UK press. And while the duke and duchess said in a sworn statement to a UK court that they had not coordinated with the authors, it eventually came to light that in 2018 they had instructed their then–communications secretary Jason Knauf to share specific information with Scobie and Durand in a background meeting.
Evidence of this was shown in emails between Knauf and Meghan and Harry were made public as part of a copyright and privacy lawsuit the duchess filed against the publishers of the Mail this past weekend.
Meghan formally apologized to the court for previously stating that she had not had any involvement with the book following the publication of the emails. Samantha Markle’s lawsuit accuses Meghan of making defamatory statements in a background briefing email to Knauf and also claims that the duchess is responsible for what Markle describes as defamatory statements published in the biography itself.
Markle’s lawsuit lists 17 allegedly defamatory statements, including seven that were made in Meghan’s email to Knauf, seven that were made in Finding Freedom, and three that were made during the Oprah interview.
In the motion to dismiss filed Friday, Meghan’s lawyers denied all of Markle’s allegations — and stated that even if they were true, the duchess’s half-sister would still have no case as the statements that Meghan made about Markle in her 2018 briefing email to Knauf were made outside of Florida’s two-year statute of limitations for defamation. In addition, Meghan didn’t write Finding Freedom. And finally, Meghan’s statements about her half-sister in the email and in the Oprah interview are substantially true and protected by the First Amendment.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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