A judge has given the US government a week to make a decision on releasing records relating to the Duke of Sussex’s visa application.
Judge Carl J Nichols told the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to decide by next Tuesday whether or not to release documents, and whether to expedite a freedom of information request related to them.
The judge said, if the decision was a rejection of the request then the case could be argued in court. He added that the decision by the department was “moot” because three other parts of government had already rejected the release.
The US government was being challenged to release the Duke’s visa records following his admissions of illegal drug use.
A prominent Washington-based think tank the Heritage Foundation brought the legal case against the Department of Homeland Security, questioning why the Duke was allowed into the US in 2020, and why he has been allowed to stay.
It followed his descriptions in his controversial memoir, Spare, about taking cocaine, marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms.
The first hearing, which lasted over an hour, was held in a federal court in Washington. Heritage Foundation lawyers argued to “compel the production of information” related to the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to admit the Duke “and to allow him to remain to date”.
They questioned “whether DHS properly admitted the Duke of Sussex in light of the fact that he has publicly admitted to the essential elements of a number of drug offences in both the United States and abroad”.
United States law “generally renders such a person inadmissible for entry to the United States”, they argued.
The Heritage Foundation filed its legal complaint under Freedom of Information laws, arguing that information relating to the Duke’s visa application was of “immense public interest”.
An original request was denied by US Customs and Border Protection because the Duke had not “consented to his information being released to plaintiffs”, according to court documents.
The Department of Homeland Security has said release of documents relating to the case would not be in the public interest.
In his controversial memoir, the Duke wrote: “Of course, I had been doing cocaine around this time. At someone’s country house, during a shooting weekend, I’d been offered a line, and I’d done a few more since.”
He also described taking psychedelic mushrooms at the California home of actress Courteney Cox and hallucinating in her bathroom.
The think tank argues that he would have had to answer questions on a visa application including, “have you ever been a drug abuser or addict?” and whether he had ever “violated any law relating to controlled substances”.
Sources close to the Duke have indicated that he was truthful on his visa application, suggesting that he disclosed his drug use.
Sam Dewey, the Heritage Foundation counsel, said: “We view it as a very serious question – why he’s let in, no problem, given everything that we know, which we’ve explained in detail, and others aren’t let in.
“The [US] government has taken the position that there’s nothing to see here. We’ve taken the position that no, if you look through all the details of his admissions, you look at the drug laws, you look at the laws on admissions, there’s a real serious question as to whether or not he should have been admitted.”
The post Judge gives US government a week to decide on release of Prince Harry’s visa application appeared first on The Telegraph.