Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

Sussexes to have ‘fair trial’ as ‘Americans don’t care’ about them

Samantha Markle says Prince Harry needs ‘counselling’

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The court could “quite easily” empanel a “fair” jury in Samantha Markle’s defamation case against her younger half-sister, Meghan Markle, and her husband, Prince Harry, as “Americans don’t care about the Sussexes”, a legal expert told Express.co.uk. That is if the case is not dismissed by the court before it goes to trial, as the expert details why it will be difficult for the disgruntled sister to prove her case against the royal couple.

Samantha Markle, 58, is suing her younger half-sister and Harry for comments the couple made during their infamous interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, claiming the couple made “demonstrably false and malicious statements” to a “worldwide audience”.

When asked how possible would it be to empanel a fair jury considering the high-profile nature of the case, lawyer and senior trial consultant Richard Matthews told Express.co.uk the court could “quite easily” select a fair jury.

He said: “First of all, most Americans don’t care about the Sussexes one way or the other, and care even less about Meghan Markle’s family.

“Second, during the jury selection process at the beginning of the trial, any prospective juror who does have a strong opinion or considerable exposure to this story will either be excused (excluded) by the judge or by the lawyer for whichever side would be disadvantaged by keeping that person in the jury.”

Mr Matthews, who has interviewed thousands of jurors prospective jurors, explained that each side can excuse a certain number of possible jurors for any reason except “for race, gender, sexual orientation or other immutable characteristics”.

But there is some possibility that the high public interest in the trial could have some impact on the jury, he said.

He added: “Still, other things do creep into their awareness, and if there is evidence of high public interest – again, an interest that they themselves do not share, or else they would have been excused at the outset – that will have unpredictable effects on their thinking.

“The reason it is unpredictable is because there is no clear preference of what verdict ‘the public’ wants.”

Matthews of Juryology said: “You see, in a high profile criminal trial, for instance – think Harvey Weinstein- it is well understood what the popular desired outcome is, and it exerts an unconscious or subconscious pressure on jurors. Here, that is simply not true.”

However, the “celebrity status” of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex could impact the outcome of the trial, a separate legal expert told Express.co.uk.

Legal expert Shawn Breyer, the owner of The Hive Law, said: “Public opinion and the celebrity status of the parties involved can often influence the outcome of a trial.

“This can make it difficult to have a fair trial, as jurors may be swayed by the public perception of the individuals involved. For example, in high-profile cases involving celebrities, the media coverage can be intense and create a biased public opinion.

“This can lead to jurors forming an opinion about the case before it even reaches the courtroom, making it harder for them to remain impartial.”

If the case is dismissed by the court before trial, which Mr Matthews claimed is a high possibility, then Meghan’s older half-sister would “must prove not only that someone said something false, but that it harmed her in some material way such as damaged public reputation or lost economic opportunities”.

One “lie” Samantha claimed Meghan said during the couple’s infamous interview with Oprah Winfrey was that she grew up as an only child.

But in response to the defamation lawsuit, the Duchess’ lawyers said in a written filing: “This perception is inherently unfalsifiable. It is hard to imagine a more personal and subjective feeling than how one views their own childhood.”

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Prince Harry and Meghan will have a ‘fair trial’ as ‘Americans don’t care about Sussexes’

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