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Tuesday September 22nd, 2020 7:52PM

UK judge holds hearing in Meghan's lawsuit against newspaper

By The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — A judge in London is hearing the latest stage on Wednesday of the Duchess of Sussex’s privacy-infringement lawsuit against a British newspaper, as Meghan tries to keep the names of five of her friends out of the public eye.

The former Meghan Markle is suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday newspaper and the MailOnline website at Britain’s High Court over five articles that published portions of a handwritten letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.

Meghan, 38, is seeking damages from publisher Associated Newspapers Ltd. for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and data protection breaches. Associated Newspapers has said it will strongly contest the claim.

At the one-day hearing, judge Mark Warby is considering an application by Meghan’s lawyers to prohibit publishing details of friends who spoke anonymously to People magazine to condemn the alleged bullying she had received at the hands of the U.K. press.

In a witness statement submitted in the case, the duchess said “each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy.”

“These five women are not on trial, and nor am I,” she wrote. “The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial. It is this publisher that acted unlawfully and is attempting to evade accountability; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case -- that the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter.”

The newspaper’s lawyers say that it was Meghan’s friends who brought the letter into the public domain by describing it in the People article.

American actress Meghan Markle married Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son Archie was born the following year,

In January the couple announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was unbearable intrusion from the British media.

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