Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex will be deposed as part of a defamation case brought against the duchess in the United States by her half-sister, Samantha Markle, a Florida judge ruled on Tuesday.
Markle is suing Meghan for “defamation and injurious falsehood” following the couple’s 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, and seeking damages in excess of $75,000.
Samantha Markle’s March 2022 lawsuit claims that Meghan made “demonstrably false and malicious statements….to a worldwide audience,” including the “roughly 50 million people in 17 countries” who watched the interview.
Meghan filed a motion in September last year to stop depositions – a witness’ sworn out-of-court testimony used to gather information – in the case.
The presiding judge, Charlene Edwards Honeywell, dismissed the motion, ruling that Meghan “does not show that unusual circumstances justify the requested stay, or that prejudice or an undue burden will result if the Court does not impose a stay,” Britain’s PA Media news agency reported.
“Defendant Markle does not satisfy the high standard required to stay discovery pending the resolution of a dispositive motion.”
Samantha Markle said in the initial filing that Meghan defamed her in the interview when she said she grew up as “an only child.”
The filing says that “Meghan…published and disseminated false and malicious lies,” which have subjected Samantha Markle “to humiliation, shame and hatred on a worldwide scale,” and spread “lies worldwide” about their father, Thomas Markle.
It alleges that Meghan orchestrated “a premeditated 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.”
The latest developments in the case follow the publication of Prince Harry’s memoir last month and the couple’s six-part Netflix series that aired in December, in which Meghan spoke about her relationship with Samantha Markle.
“My half-sister, who I hadn’t seen for over a decade – and that was only for a day and a half – suddenly, it felt like she was everywhere,” Meghan said in the documentary.
“I don’t know your middle name. I don’t know your birthday. You’re telling these people that you raised me, and you’ve coined me ‘Princess Pushy.’”
A statement shown in the episode read: “Samantha Markle maintains that she and Meghan had a close relationship until 2018 and that the media fabricated quotes that have been attributed to her.”
CNN’s Amarachi Orie contributed reporting.
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