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Court to hear lawsuit over Prince Harry's U.S. visa records filed by Heritage Foundation

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The conservative Heritage Foundation is taking the federal government to court in an effort to get records related to Prince Harry's U.S. visa application, questioning whether the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acted properly after the Duke of Sussex admitted he has used drugs on U.S. and foreign soil. 

The Heritage Foundation and DHS officials will appear in federal court next week, after the think tank filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit earlier this month to force the release of the prince's immigration records, given the "widespread public and press interest on the specific issue of whether DHS acted, and is acting, appropriately as regards the Duke of Sussex." So far, DHS has declined to release the records. 

In its complaint, the Heritage Foundation sought to "compel the production of information" related to DHS' decision to admit the duke into the United States "and to allow him to remain to date." 

"Widespread and continuous media coverage has surfaced the question of whether DHS properly admitted the Duke of Sussex in light of the fact that he has publicly admitted to the essential elements of a number of drug offenses in both the United States and abroad," the complaint said. "United States law generally renders such a person inadmissible for entry into the United States. Intense media coverage has also surfaced the question of whether DHS may have improperly granted the Duke of Sussex a waiver to enter the country on a non-immigrant visa given his history of admissions to the essential elements of drug offenses."

In his memoir "Spare," Harry wrote, "Of course I had been taking cocaine at that time," according to Sky News. "At someone's house, during a hunting weekend, I was offered a line, and since then I had consumed some more."

He also recalled taking magic mushrooms at "Friends" star Courtney Cox's home in Los Angeles. 

"We spotted a huge box of black diamond mushroom chocolates," he wrote, an account in "People" noted. "Somebody behind me said they were for everybody. Help yourself, boys. My mate and I grabbed several, gobbled them, washed them down with tequila."  And then, he recalled hallucinating in her bathroom.

The federal government, in its response to the lawsuit, questioned its merits and suggested the plaintiffs have not demonstrated irreparable harm in seeking a mandatory injunction. U.S. Customs and Border Protection initially denied the plaintiffs' request for records because "plaintiffs did not provide written authorization from the Duke of Sussex indicating that the Duke of Sussex consented to his information being released to plaintiffs." 

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, moved to Montecito, California, in 2020. In the same year, they announced they would step down from their roles as "senior" royals. 

The hearing will be held Tuesday in federal court in Washington, D.C..

— Robert Legare contributed to this report 

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