"Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy."

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meghan markle defends friends

As the court case between Meghan Markle and Associated Newspapers goes on, things continue to get messier. According to a court document obtained by The Telegraph, Associated Newspapers is attempting to out five women who anonymously defended Markle to People in 2019 and Markle is not having it. In a statement, the Duchess of Sussex said, "Associated Newspapers, the owner of The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, is threatening to publish the names of five women—five private citizens—who made a choice on their own to speak anonymously with a U.S. media outlet more than a year ago, to defend me from the bullying behavior of Britain’s tabloid media."

She continued, "These five women are not on trial, and nor am I. The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial. It is this publisher that acted unlawfully and is attempting to evade accountability; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case—that the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter."

Markle went on to add that publishing their names could be damaging to their wellbeing. “Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy. Both the Mail on Sunday and the court system have their names on a confidential schedule, but for the Mail on Sunday to expose them in the public domain for no reason other than clickbait and commercial gain is vicious and poses a threat to their emotional and mental wellbeing," she said. "The Mail on Sunday is playing a media game with real lives. I respectfully ask the court to treat this legal matter with the sensitivity it deserves, and to prevent the publisher of the Mail on Sunday from breaking precedent and abusing the legal process by identifying these anonymous individuals - a privilege that these newspapers in fact rely upon to protect their own unnamed sources.”

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The lawsuit in question is over a private letter written by Meghan to her father Thomas Markle that The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday published. She accused them of "harassing, humiliating, manipulating, and exploiting" him.