FINDING Freedom author Omid Scobie insists he did not speak to Meghan Markle as he faces taking the stand in her privacy battle.
The Duchess of Sussex has faced claims she and Prince Harry co-operated with Scobie and co-author Carolyn Durand on the explosive biography.
⚠️Read our Meghan and Harry blog for the latest news on the Royal couple
He now faces giving evidence at Meghan's High Court battle with Associated Newspapers next year.
The Duchess, 39, is suing the group over an article that printed parts of the same letter she wrote to her father Thomas, 76.
But Scobie claims in his witness statement it was "false" to suggest Harry or Meghan collaborated on Finding Freedom, which made bombshell claims about the couple and Megxit from the royal family.
He says: "They did not authorise the Book and have never been interviewed
"The Book was always prepared on the understanding that it was to
be independent and unauthorised. As journalists we wanted to be able to
look into the other side of the story without worrying about offending any
It comes as:
- Meghan Markle ‘fires lawyer who represented Johnny Depp in Amber Heard case’
- Trial date provisionally set for January 11 next year
- Meghan's lawyers say the privacy battle could cost £1.8m
- Mail on Sunday want to cross examine Omid Scoobie in the trial over whether Meghan spoke to him about Finding Freedom
- Meghan gave the letter she wrote to dad Thomas Markle to the Kensington Palace communications team
The court heard today Meghan had advance notice of what was in a recent book about her and Harry and was told by one of the authors extracts of a personal letter to her dad would be published.
Associated Newspapers also claims Meghan allowed the explosive book containing "favourable" intimate details of her life to go ahead – including extracts from the letter.
Their lawyers argue Finding Freedom "gives every appearance of having been written with their extensive co-operation".
They insist either Meghan gave or allowed others to give the information, friends shared it with the authors without permission or it "is the product of invention by the authors and/or the authors' sources".
ROYAL BOOK ROW
They claim if Meghan hadn't been directly involved, she would have said she was betrayed or complained to the authors.
But Scobie claims he has only ever spoken to Harry and Meghan in his capacity as a royal correspondent and "not for the purposes of the book".
He added: "To reiterate, we have not had any discussions with The Duke or Duchess about the Book.
"We did speak to a large number of people (more than 100) for the purposes of the Book, some of whom were close to The Duke and
Duchess and who gave us information."
Meghan and her team have consistently denied being involved in the writing of the book, with the authors maintaining the information has come from friends and sources.
They argued that references in the book, published in August, were simply "extracts from the letter lifted from the defendant's own articles".
Her lawyers added: "The copy of the Book was provided just before its serialisation, as is common practice, and at a time when it was obviously too late for any changes to be made."
The provisional date for the High Court Hearing in London was today set for January next year and could cost Meghan around £1.8million.
Meghan is "currently anticipated" to "give evidence in person".
Meghan is suing ANL over five articles in total, two in the MoS and three on MailOnline, which were published in February 2019, and reproduced parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her father in August 2018.
The headline on the article read: "Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan's rift with a father she says has 'broken her heart into a million pieces'."
The duchess is seeking damages from ANL for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
ANL wholly denies the allegations, particularly the duchess's claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, and says it will hotly contest the case.
The Mail on Sunday also claims Meghan knew it was "likely" her father, Thomas, would publicly share the letter, and had given a copy to the Kensington Palace communications.
Source: Read Full Article