AceShowbiz - Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex is scheduled to face a trial next year after her half-sister Samantha Markle accused her of defamation. The 59-year-old author files a lawsuit against the former "Suits" actress for $75,000 in damages over the "malicious lies" she alleged were told about her during an interview Meghan, 42, gave alongside husband Prince Harry, 39, to Oprah Winfrey, 69, after stepping down from royal duties in 2020 and moving to Los Angeles.
After the case was thrown out in March, a new complaint was filed and the trial will now take place in November 2024. There will be "in-person" meetings before the trial - which won't require Meghan to attend.
Samantha alleged she has been subjected to "humiliation and hatred" because of the claims made. She wants the duchess to admit she "lied" when she claimed to Oprah that she and her half-sister had "little to no relationship" for the sake of selling a "rags-to-royalty story."
As part of the case, Samantha is also demanding that Meghan retract her suggestion that the late Queen Elizabeth was "racist" when she claimed to the veteran TV host that there had been "concerns" raised by unnamed members of the royal family when she was pregnant with her son Archie, now four.
In March, US District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell ruled Meghan's statements were simply opinions and "not capable of being proved false."
Samantha had objected to Meghan telling Oprah that she "grew up as an only child" and hadn't grown up with her half-siblings, with the writer insisting they used to have a "wonderful relationship" and she had "regularly driven" her father's other daughter to school and "helped with her homework."
But the judge ruled that as no reasonable viewer would believe the duchess was suggesting she had no half-siblings or wasn't related to Samantha; her statements could not constitute defamation because they were just descriptions of her subjective experience.
The judge wrote in an order obtained by The Daily Beast, "A reasonable listener would not think that Defendant was suggesting that she has no half-siblings, that Plaintiff does not actually exist, or that Plaintiff is not related to her."
"As a reasonable listener would understand it, Defendant merely expresses an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-siblings. Thus, the Court finds that Defendant's statement is not objectively verifiable or subject to empirical proof…. Because the statement is not 'capable of being proved false, it is protected from a defamation action.' "
Samantha had also complained about statements made in "Finding Freedom" - which was written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand - that claimed the half-siblings had barely known one another growing up, she had "never been close" to Meghan, and had been "handsomely paid" for an unflattering newspaper story.
But the judge said Meghan couldn't be held liable for the contents of the book because she didn't publish it. The claims were dismissed without prejudice.