This morning, lawyers for Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, submitted a request to the UK court to have the trial for her lawsuit against Associated Newspapers delayed. The trial has been scheduled to start on January 11, 2020 for weeks.
Meghan’s lawyers have stated that the judge’s ruling that the Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand book Finding Freedom can be allowed in evidence has set back their case, and that they need time to re-strategize and incorporate this into their argument. They have also stated that tomorrow, October 29, when Justice Warby is scheduled to make his judgment on whether the trial will be postponed, that he should rule in favour of Meghan by issuing a summary decision and then the trial won’t need to occur at all. I doubt that this will be accepted by the judge. As you can tell if you read my review of the public court documents from this case, Justice Warby’s patience with Meghan appears to be wearing thin. He straight-up called her out for “energetically” leaking confidential information about the case to journalists, including Omid Scobie.
The main (unstated) issue that seems to be pushing Meghan’s call for a delay is that Meghan will have to fly from California to London to be present for the case in person. This wouldn’t be such a huge deal in normal times, but due to COVID-19 she would have to quarantine in the UK for two weeks prior to the trial starting.
Another interesting tidbit about this two week quarantine period is that Meghan would have to leave the states for the UK on December 27 at the very latest, in order to make it through the 14 day isolation period before being able to go to court as scheduled on January 11. This means that she will have missed Christmas with the royal family by two days, and that she and Harry would rather have a holiday in California than visit the gang at Sandringham. The Queen is said to be upset at not being able to see Harry, Meghan, or Archie. She hasn’t seen Archie in over a year. Missing Christmas with the Windsors and then showing up for a court appearance two days later doesn’t scream family.
Meghan could also be afraid of two to three weeks of terrible headlines in the UK tabloids, as well as a possible invitation from the Queen or Prince Charles for a post-quarantine “tea and chat” that, by all accounts, Meghan would like to avoid.
Both Meghan and Associated Newspaper’s lawyers will make their arguments to Justice Warby tomorrow as to why the case should proceed with the current schedule or be delayed. I am confident that Justice Warby will not award Meghan a summary judgment tomorrow, that seems to be a Hail Mary from Meghan’s team that would prevent her having to go to London and testify on the stand. She can try it, but I doubt it’s going to work.
The main question is: with the court date looming, will Meghan decide to drop the suit entirely at the last minute? That would save her and her friends (and Omid Scobie!) from having to testify under oath. The next few months will be very interesting.
Updates tomorrow (or whenever the judge makes his decision).