Meghan Markle’s attempt to win her British tabloid privacy case without a high-profile trial is “unfortunate and hopeless,” lawyers told Washington Newsday.
The Duchess of Sussex won an important victory in the High Court in London last week when she was granted permission to postpone her case against the Mail on Sunday for confidential reasons by about nine months.
Crucially, she was also granted permission to file a motion in January to win the high-stakes lawsuit without trial.
If this motion is successful, it would be a major coup d’état and would spare her the need to face an interrogation by the newspaper’s lawyers and that her father would have to testify against her.
At the center of the case is a handwritten letter that the newspaper published and sent to Thomas Markle about the breakdown of their relationship after their royal wedding in 2018.
British lawyer Mark Stephens, who previously represented Julian Assange, told Washington Newsday that if she failed, she would have to testify under oath whether she had passed on information about her private life to the authors of the biography Finding Freedom.
Howard Kennedy’s lawyer said: “Her application is hopeless and unfortunate. It will fail.
“She has put herself in this position where she must accept every fact that the Mail on Sunday says is true.
“Only if everything they say is true and they still lose, can she do it.
“This sounded to me like an attempt to delay the case because I believe that she knows she is in a mess and that before this hearing she was forced to reveal the details of her direct or indirect involvement with the book.
“She will have to expose all of this, and she will have to disclose her private electronic messages.
Summary judgments are given when the court believes that one side has an overwhelming chance of success in a case.
However, the “Mail on Sunday” case builds on allegations that Meghan intended to make her private letter public and send it as part of a PR strategy to convey her point of view without being seen to make public statements.
Meghan denies these allegations, but the newspaper will argue that the court cannot decide whether she is telling the truth without having seen her testimony in court.
In a court motion last week, Mail on Sunday’s lawyers said it was not for Meghan to say that “the court should make final decisions on these factual issues based on her own evidence, without any documentation to support her case.
The newspaper wants Meghan and five of her closest friends to submit private messages to the court as part of the evidence in the case, with the prospect that more embarrassing or revealing details may emerge.
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Amber Melville-Brown, media and reputation attorney in Withers, told Washington Newsday: “She has already succeeded in getting a motion to postpone the trial, so she may have a little time to try and get out of this mess.
“How will she do that? She has filed a motion to strike and a summary judgment on every aspect of the suit.
“And why not be completely open? If she wants to try to get out of this mess and avoid the horror show, it would be a public trial.
“This motion for summary judgment is usually a high-risk strategy, but in this case, why not?
“It is a risk worth taking. The risk is that you will lose and not want to go to trial because psychologically you lost a hearing.
The trial was due to start on January 11, with Meghan and Harry flying to the UK at the end of December, where they were to be quarantined for two weeks beforehand.
However, since the trial date has been postponed and Meghan’s summary judgment hearing does not require her personal presence, she will not need to come to the UK this December.
A Sussex source told Washington Newsday last week: “A motion for summary judgment and removal is a legal step that can be taken during the trial if one party believes they have an overwhelmingly strong case.
“We don’t believe that the defense’s case has any chance of success, and we don’t believe it does,