The 39-year-old sued the U.K.’s Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), the publishers of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, for breach of privacy and copyright infringement after the latter printed a 2018 letter from Markle’s estranged father, Thomas Markle Sr.
Last week, ANL alleged that Markle had leaked information about herself to the Finding Freedom authors, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand. However, the mom of one’s lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, argued, “The claimant and her husband did not collaborate with the authors on the book, nor were they interviewed for it, nor did they provide photographs to the authors for the book.”
Despite Markle’s bid to prevent the Mail on Sunday from using Finding Freedom in the ongoing legal battle, Judge Francesca Kaye ruled on Tuesday, September 29, to allow the ANL defense to use the book — and isn’t letting Markle appeal against the ruling. Kaye said the amended defense did not raise “new defenses” but added “further particulars” of ANL’s case.
Kaye added that the Duchess of Sussex “knows the case she has to meet” and that “there is no suggestion that she is in fact unable to do so.”
The Duchess’ lawyers can take Kaye’s decision to the Court of Appeal, Variety reported. Kaye also said that Scobie — one of the co-authors of Finding Freedom — has denied that Markle cooperated with them while writing about the royal family. “They did not authorize the book and have never been interviewed for it,” Scobie said in a statement, confirming that he did not have any conversations with Markle and her husband, Prince Harry. “The book was always prepared on the understanding that it was to be independent and unauthorized. As journalists we wanted to be able to look into the other side of the story without worrying about offending any collaborators/sources.”
“It may be what it does not say rather than what it does say that might prove to be significant at trial,” Kaye said, referring to Scobie’s statement. “If, as suggested, it’s all a house of cards, it will quickly fall down at trial.”
Rushbrooke said the “inherent improbability” of Markle cooperating with the book could be seen by “simply comparing what the defendant’s own articles said with what the book said about the letter.”
Markle’s legal team accused Scobie and Durand of using information that was already made public to write their book, which included details from her first date with Harry to a FaceTime conversation in her bathtub, in which the Duchess told a pal about her “final message” to her father, but the legal team said she never sent anything in the first place.
The case will go to trial in January 2021.
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