New court docs detail Mail’s false claims against Meghan

New court docs detail Mail’s false claims against Meghan

The legal team for the Duchess of Sussex has filed new documents with the High Court which detail what they claim are “false”, “absurd”, and “offensive” stories about Meghan.

In these new documents – filed as part of of Meghan’s lawsuit against Associated Newspapers for misuse of private information, infringement of copyright, and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018 – Meghan’s team details numerous articles from the Daily Mail, dating back to November 2016, which they claim are “completely untrue”.

Byline Investigates, who broke the story of Harry’s lawsuits, has the court docs. The article is quite long and includes quotes from a commentator who is not associated with the royals, so I’m only quoting the paragraphs relating to the court documents. The sentences in bold are my own headings for the quoted paragraphs.

In relation to the letter Meghan sent to her father:

In the ‘Part 18’ legal reply to questions from Associated Newspapers for “more information” about her claims, the Duchess’s legal team at Schillings LLP said the letter deliberately misled readers.

It states: “The omitted parts demonstrate the Claimant’s care for her father and others, as well as her concern about the UK tabloid media exploiting her father, and the fact that she addresses untruths previously published by the Defendant. Those elements did not fit the Defendant’s narrative within the Articles. In such circumstances, the pronouncement by the Defendant that it was revealing the ‘full content’ of the ‘five-page letter’ was intentionally misleading and dishonest.”

Elsewhere, it adds: “The fact that it chose to publish parts of the Letter, while dishonestly claiming that it was publishing its ‘full contents’, and deliberately omitted or suppressed other parts in order to portray a false picture, is relevant not only as a factor relating to the content, form and manner in which the information was published, but also a seriously aggravating feature in the Defendant’s unlawful conduct in publishing any of its contents.”

In relation to Meghan’s father:

The ‘Part 18’ response, which also puts the paper’s “methods” in tracking down Thomas Markle to his Mexico home under the legal spotlight, stated: “The Claimant is not prepared to allow this request to be used by the Defendant as a vehicle for intruding further into her privacy.” […]

The document says: “The Claimant’s claim is against the Defendant for its unlawful disclosure of the Letter and infringement of copyright, and not against her father.” […]

The document adds: “The true position is that the Claimant has a long history of looking after her father’s welfare and trying to find solutions to any health problems… she did provide extensive financial support for him, as well as act as primary caregiver for her grandmother… her father did not telephone her to explain that he was not coming to her wedding… her team in Los Angeles did provide him with continued support for which he had expressed gratitude… she had reached out to him prior to the wedding and sought to protect him, as well as to ensure that he would be able to come to the wedding… she did not ignore him afterwards.”

In relation to the Mail headline: “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed – so will he be dropping by for tea?”

“The statement that the Claimant lived or grew up in Compton (or anywhere near to it) is false. The fact that the Defendant chose to stereotype this entire community as being “plagued by crime and riddled with street gangs” and thereby suggest (in the first few days of her relationship being revealed) that the Claimant came from a crime- ridden neighbourhood is completely untrue as well as intended to be divisive. The Claimant will also refer to the fact that the article cites her aunt as living in “gang-afflicted Inglewood” in order to bolster this negative and damaging impression of where this (black) side of her family is said to come from. In fact, Ava Burrow (said to be “the actress’ aunt”) is not her Aunt or any blood relation at all, a fact which if correctly stated would have undermined the narrative which the Defendant was intended to convey.”

In relation to the Mail article: “Kitchen supported by Meghan’s cookbook is housed inside mosque ‘which has links to 19 terror suspects including Jihadi John’.”

“The connection made between the Hubb Community Kitchen (in which the Claimant worked with those affected by the Grenfell tragedy as part of a cookbook project which became a New York Times best-selling book) and the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre (supposedly “linked to 19 Islamic extremists”) is at best a highly tenuous and deliberately inflammatory one. The characterisation of these victims as being linked to terrorism in the same way as the Claimant is said to be supporting or endorsing jihadi terrorists through her participation in a cookbook for victims of Grenfell, is as false as it is offensive.”

In relation to the Mail article: “How Meghan Markle’s Australian aide Samantha ‘the Panther’ Cohen rose from a Brisbane home to Buckingham Palace – before becoming the second aide to walk out on the ‘difficult Duchess”

“The suggestion that Samantha Cohen (who was private secretary for both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) walked out on the Claimant or that she did so because the Claimant was “difficult” to work for (a word used six times in this article) is untrue, as well as damaging. Ms Cohen, who was a highly respected and dedicated member of Her Majesty the Queen’s staff for sixteen years, personally chose to come out of retirement in order to work for the Claimant. Far from walking out on her, Ms Cohen even extended the original year which she had intended to work for as she wanted to carry on helping the Duke and Duchess with their office. Further, the Claimant’s “personal assistant” was in fact assistant to both the Duke and Duchess, and, contrary to what the Defendant stated in the article, she did not ‘quit’.”

In relation to the Mail article: “How Meghan’s favourite avocado snack – beloved of all millennials – is fuelling human rights abuses, drought and murder.”

“The connection made between the fact that the Claimant likes eating avocado and made avocado on toast for a friend who visited her with human rights abuses, murder and environmental devastation is another highly tenuous and deliberately inflammatory one. The suggestion that by liking avocados she is fuelling or supporting these extreme occurrences, and therefore is disingenuous about her “campaigning for racial equality and female empowerment”, is again as absurd as it is offensive.”

In relation to the Mail article: “Doria Ragland spotted alone in LA while daughter Meghan Markle parties with famous friends at her $300k baby shower.”

“The suggestion that the Claimant deliberately left out her mother from her baby shower and ditched her in favour of her famous friends is untrue and offensive to her. The Claimant’s mother was of course invited, and the Claimant also offered to buy her airline tickets. However, her mother was unable to attend due to work commitments. It was also untrue and offensive to suggest, as the article does, that ‘not a single guest had known [the Claimant] for more than a decade’. In fact, the true position was that the baby shower (which actually cost a tiny fraction of the $300k falsely stated in the article) was organised and hosted by one of her best friends from university; the fifteen guests who attended the shower were close friends and included long-term friendships some of which had existed for over 20 years.”

In relation to articles about Frogmore Cottage:

“The clear intention was to portray the Claimant in a damaging light by suggesting that she had indulged in this series of absurdly lavish renovations, which were in fact false (as the Defendant was informed at the time) and entirely made up. Furthermore, the Defendant sought to portray these renovations as being done at “the taxpayer’s expense”, costing “£2.4m of YOUR cash”. This was also false and misleading. In fact, the Cottage is a grade 2-listed 17th century residence, which was already undergoing much-needed renovation for safety, and its refurbishment back to its original state as a single family home was funded by Her Majesty the Queen, as part of her obligation and responsibility to maintain or refurbish the upkeep of buildings of historical significance through a portion of the sovereign grant, made in exchange for the revenue from her Crown Estate (which is several times the amount of the sovereign grant).”

Byline Investigates

Oof, reading the headline I’m reminded of how blatantly racist that Straight Outta Compton article was, as was the one about Meghan’s “exotic blood” which wasn’t included in this list but I think was also a Mail article.

I was wondering how these new claims fit in to the lawsuit for “misuse of private information, infringement of copyright, and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018” since they seem to me to be more about defamation or something along those lines, especially with the repeated use of the word “offensive” (not that I know anything about defamation law), but from what I’m gathering, these new docs are in response to some documents from Associated Newspapers asking for more information about her initial claims. So these new claims are being put out there because Associated Newspapers asked for them, essentially.

I find Meghan and Harry’s lawsuits and media strategy fascinating – in a “rubbernecking a car crash” sort of way. I still think it’s only going to get worse before it gets better (especially with their break through the end of the year), but I find the whole thing fascinating to watch.

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