Prince Harry Accused of Destroying Potential Evidence Amid Tabloid Lawsuit

The removal of Prince Harry's messages with his ghostwriter has become an issue amid his lawsuit against the publisher of 'The Sun.'

Prince Harry has come under fire by a lawyer for The Sun, who has accused the Duke of Sussex of "deliberately" destroying potential evidence amid his lawsuit against the British tabloid, according to multiple reports.

On Thursday, attorney Anthony Hudson claimed in court that Prince Harry destroyed messages exchanged with the ghostwriter of his 2023 memoir, Spare, the Associated Press reported. Harry and other claimants are set to go to trial with News Group Newspapers, the publisher of The Sun, in January 2025 over claims of unlawful information gathering. 

According to The Telegraph, NGN sought Harry's emails, text messages, and WhatsApp messages among other content and communications, including his messages with his ghostwriter, J. R. Moehringer. However, The Telegraph reported, citing Harry's attorney, David Sherborne, that Harry communicated with Moehringer through the Signal app and that their chat history was removed before the memoir was published to delete sensitive information that could compromise Harry's security and be damaging if leaked. 

Sherborne accused NGN of going on a "fishing expedition" and said the royal has gone "above and beyond his obligations."

"NGN's tactical and sluggish approach to disclosure wholly undermines the deliberately sensational assertion that the claimant (Harry) has not properly carried out the disclosure exercise," he said in court papers, per the AP. "This is untrue. In fact, the claimant has already made clear that he has conducted extensive searches, going above and beyond his obligations."

However, Hudson claimed that Harry was "trying to create an obstacle course" to stop NGN from getting possible evidence. While he said the royal's legal team had been dragged "kicking and screaming" to search more than 30,000 emails, according to The Telegraph, Sherborne called the email search an "utterly disproportionate exercise" as it took more than 100 hours of searching to find that apparently only "a handful" of the emails were relevant. 

Hudson reportedly said in court, "Those messages are clearly within his control, even if they have been deleted. That's why we say the search for texts and WhatsApps is important."

Continued Hudson, "It is, I'm afraid we say, another example of the obfuscation in relation to the claimant's case. We say it's shocking and extraordinary that the claimant has deliberately destroyed…"

"Well we don’t know what has happened," Mr. Justice Timothy Fancourt interjected. "It's not at all clear."

The removal of Prince Harry's messages with his memoir ghostwriter has become an issue in the midst of his lawsuit against the publisher of 'The Sun.' - Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images

Fancourt reportedly said that Harry needs to make a witness statement. 

"I have also seen troubling evidence that a large number of potentially relevant documents and confidential messages between the Duke and the ghostwriter of Spare were destroyed some time between 2021 and 2023, well after this claim was under way," he said in court, per The Telegraph

"The position is not transparently clear about what happened and needs to be made so by way of a witness statement from the claimant himself -- what happened to the messages between himself and his ghostwriter and whether any attempts were made to retrieve them," Fancourt continued.  

Added the judge, "It seems to me inherently likely that matters would have been said which relate to the parts of Spare in which unlawful information gathering is discussed."

ET has reached out to lawyers for Prince Harry and The Sun for comment. 

The legal update comes amid a new announcement that Harry is set to be honored with the Pat Tillman Award at the 2024 ESPY Awards on July 11, though it has not been announced if the royal will accept the award in person in Los Angeles.