The news broke on Friday: on September 27th, Prince Harry’s lawyers – Clintons LLC – filed a lawsuit against the Sun, the Daily Mirror and the now-defunct News of the World, all of which are some of the worst British tabloids out there. NOTW is defunct because they basically got sued out of existence during the British phone-hacking thing several years back. Hack-gate or the Leveson Inquiry or the British Hacking Scandal, it never really had a name which caught on. We might need to all agree on a name for it because Prince Harry has brought the scandal back to life with his lawsuit. Part of his lawsuit says that these publications based stories on the “illegal interception of voicemail messages.” This was shown again and again during all of the evidence given in various court proceedings – those newspapers were hacking into celebrities’ voicemails for dirt.
No one knows the timeline for when Harry is claiming to have been hacked, whether this is an old case or a new/recent case. What’s interesting is that if the hacking was from years ago, that’s when Piers Morgan (who was name-checked in the lawsuit) was editor of the Daily Mirror. The Daily Beast’s sources believe that these are cases from years ago. The claims against the News of the World pre-date 2010, and the lawsuit might include stories/hacking from the early 2000s. As for the specific call-out of Piers Morgan, the Daily Beast reports this:
A legal insider told Byline Investigates: “Piers Morgan has been critical of Harry and Meghan’s recourse to law this week against the Mail on Sunday. However, most of the Mirror hacking and blagging of Harry and his loved ones, allegedly happened under his watch.” (‘Blagging,’ in this context, means posing as someone to obtain personal information about them without their consent.) One Mirror source told The Daily Beast: “Piers is at the crux of this. Harry is incensed over his constant columns on Mail Online and his TV attacks on GMB. Piers does not hold back in his contempt for them.”
A senior employee at one of the named outlets, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to do so, told The Daily Beast that they did not believe the allegations related to specific allegations of phone hacking, or phone hacking that had taken place in recent years, but rather to an inference of phone hacking based on the publication of private information. The source said they did not have detailed knowledge of the complaint lodged by Harry and were basing their speculation on previous legal actions by other claimants.
The source said: “The papers were lodged a week ago. Since 2011 there have been a steady stream of civil cases, and usually they don’t actually have direct evidence of phone hacking, they just say, ‘Well, in 2005 you published this story that you couldn’t possibly have known about unless you had hacked my phone.’ I suspect this is similar. Now we’re being traduced as phone hackers but in the vast majority of cases someone had actually told us the story and we hadn’t hacked anyone’s phone. Usually the lawyers just settle anyway, because it’s easier, but for some reason Harry has obviously decided he wants to make a big public statement out of it.
“The general view is that it’s just some vendetta he has got. But what is he so cross about? What does it pertain to? It’s like he has gone mad. I mean, if you actually read the papers we do the most fawning coverage of Meghan and Harry. It’s infuriating. You definitely get the impression he is doing this without consulting anyone, just like he did with the statement this week and the action against the Mail on Sunday. He is just launching his own actions and he is going to drag the whole royal family down with him.”
A former royal correspondent told the Daily Beast: “Harry is making himself newsworthy. He seems to have lost the plot with the press. This is a very aggressive and odd move and is obviously being driven by the way the press has covered Meghan. This is payback.”
I think the newspapers are HOPING that Harry doesn’t have a specific case or proof that he was hacked so they continue to claim that he’s just making sh-t up for “attention” (lol). I remember during the Leveson Inquiry, there was evidence of the tabloids hacking Prince William and then-Kate Middleton and basing stories off of their voicemails (including their pet names for each other). I would imagine there was evidence (which likely got buried) of similar hacks of Harry and probably Chelsy Davy too. But here’s the thing: what if there are new or recent cases? That would be VERY interesting. I mean, it’s not like anyone really believes that all of the British tabloids just up and decided to go on the straight and narrow in 2011. Of course there are still some really shady things that happen. And personally, I don’t believe Harry would just go out and start throwing legal haymakers. He and his lawyers would have their ducks in a row before launching this kind of attack on the press.
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