A judge dismissed Samantha Markle's defamation lawsuit against half-sister Meghan Markle

meghan markle, samantha markle
Meghan Markle, left, at an engagement in Johannesburg, South Africa, October 1, 2019, and Samantha Markle, right, during an appearance on GB News on December 8, 2022.REUTERS/Toby Melville, GB News/YouTube
  • A Florida judge dismissed Samantha Markle's defamation lawsuit against Meghan Markle.

  • Samantha said comments made about her in a royal biography and Meghan's Oprah interview were false.

  • Meghan's lawyers called the lawsuit a "defamation case without any merit."

A Florida judge dismissed Samantha Markle's defamation lawsuit against her estranged half-sister Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, according to court documents.

Samantha filed the lawsuit in Tampa, Florida, in March 2022 as a result of comments made about her in the 2020 book "Finding Freedom," an unauthorized biography about Meghan and Prince Harry written by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, as well as comments made by Meghan in her interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021.

As Insider previously reported, a major part of Samantha's lawsuit was based on a 2018 email between Meghan and Jason Knauf, then-communications secretary at Kensington Palace, about a meeting he was due to have with the authors of "Finding Freedom." The email was released by Meghan's attorneys in court documents in 2022 relating to her privacy lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday.

Samantha said defamatory comments about her in the email ended up in the book, including that she did not graduate high school and that she had three children from three different fathers. However, Meghan's attorney previously said that these comments never made it to print, while others either weren't in the email or were substantially true, and therefore weren't defamatory.

Meanwhile, Samantha said in the lawsuit that Meghan lied about being an "only child" in her interview with Winfrey, to which Meghan's attorney responded by saying that her comments were intended to be a subjective account of her childhood.

Samantha also complained about several other comments made by Meghan in the Oprah interview, including that she changed her last name back to Markle after Meghan's relationship with Harry was made public, the court document states. According to Samantha's attorney, Meghan's comments in the interview caused harm to Samantha's reputation, as people began to see her as an "opportunist trying to cash in on her sister's success and fame."

A total of 10 statements that Samantha said were defamatory in the lawsuit were based on "Finding Freedom," while three statements were based on the Winfrey interview, BuzzFeed News senior reporter Ellie Hall wrote in a Twitter post on Friday.

Meghan initially requested that the lawsuit be dismissed back in May, with a representative for the duchess calling it a "defamation case without any merit," Insider previously reported.

The judge granted Meghan's request on Thursday, and dismissed Samantha's claims based on "Finding Freedom" due to the fact that Samantha "cannot plausibly allege" that Meghan published the book, according to court documents that were published online and shared on Twitter by Hall.

Samantha's claims based on the Winfrey interview were also dismissed. The court has granted Samantha's lawyers 14 days to submit an amended complaint and file a new complaint if she wishes to continue the lawsuit, according to the documents.

Representatives for Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Insider was unable to reach representatives for Samantha Markle.

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