Meghan Markle’s half-sister appeared in virtual court Wednesday in her defamation case against the Duchess of Sussex, where she claimed the royal tarnished her name by fabricating a “rags-to-royalty” narrative.
Samantha Markle, 58, sued Meghan in federal court in Florida for making “demonstrably false and malicious statements” about her to a world audience during her and Prince Harry’s bombshell March 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The claims statements made in the 2020 biography of the couple “Finding Freedom” also defamed Markle’s half-sister.
Samantha, who shares a dad with the duchess, claimed Meghan “orchestrated the 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 [Meghan] had fabricated about her life to the Royal Family and the worldwide media.”
Samantha’s lawyer Peter Ticktin told the court that Meghan got caught in a lie about her upbringing and decided to slam her half-sister and estranged father to cover it up, according to the Daily Mail.
“Why else is she putting her sister down? Why else is she putting her father down? Why else is she denying her family who has done nothing but good to her all her life?” Ticktin said. “She never had a problem with them at all.”
He said the “false narrative” put out by Meghan harmed his client.
Meghan, 41, didn’t think how her tale “would put an innocent person into the fray where all of a sudden she has hundreds of threats on her life coming at her, a stalker she had to deal with,” Ticktin added.
Meghan’s lawyer, Michael Kump, however, said Samantha had no grounds to sue for defamation.
He said the claims made by Samantha and her lawyer were “quite frankly offensive to my client” and demanded the case be dismissed.
“Not every perceived slight ought to be litigated and that’s true here,” he said, according to the outlet. “Plaintiff is taking issue with Meghan’s own impressions of her own childhood growing up but that’s not a proper subject matter for a court of law.”
He added that the duchess and former “Suits” star has a right to voice opinions “and even criticize” under the First Amendment.
Kump also noted that Meghan — who has been estranged from her father’s side for years — didn’t write the book “Finding Freedom,” in which Samantha claimed she defamed her with several statements, and therefore cannot be sued over it.
Judge Charlene Honeywell said she was “really struggling” to see how Meghan published her so-called defamatory statements against Samantha — a requirement in such lawsuits.
She plans to issue her written judgement at a later date, but noted the case may be “ripe for dismissal,” according to the Daily Mail.
Last week, Honeywell dismissed Meghan’s motion to avoid testifying in the case, ruling that the former “Suits” star “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.”
Samantha claimed Meghan’s alleged lies subjected her to “humiliation, shame and hatred on a worldwide scale” and is seeking $75,000 in damages.
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