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Meghan Markle wins defamation lawsuit filed by half-sister

Meghan Markle has beaten a defamation lawsuit filed against her by half-sister Samantha Markle after a judge on Friday dismissed the case.

The lawsuit, filed in Tampa, Florida, in March 2022, alleged the Duchess of Sussex made "demonstrably false and malicious statements" about her sister in a 2021 CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey. It also claimed Meghan spread defamatory statements about Samantha to the authors of a New York Times best-selling book about Meghan, "Finding Freedom," which contained a chapter titled "A Problem Like Samantha."

U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell, however, ruled in favor of the former "Suits" actress. Regarding the Oprah interview, the judge wrote that the duchess' statements could not be proved false. 

"As a reasonable listener would understand it, [Meghan Markle] merely expresses an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-siblings," Honeywell wrote in the order. "Thus, the Court finds that Defendant's statement is not objectively verifiable or subject to empirical proof. Plaintiff cannot plausibly disprove Defendant's opinion of her own childhood."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, were in New York City to accept the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award on Dec. 6, 2022. AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey

The judge also dismissed claims made over the best-seller, finding that the duchess could not be held liable for a book she did not publish.

Samantha, who has the same biological father as Meghan, had claimed in her lawsuit that the former actress lied about being "an only child" and minimized the extent of her relationship with her half-sister. 

"The defamatory implication is that [Samantha] had no relationship whatsoever with her sister Meghan," the lawsuit reads. 

However, Meghan's attorney defended her client's comments as subjective accounts of her upbringing. 

Samantha's lawyers have two weeks from the date of the court's decision to submit an amended complaint, court documents show. 

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