Samantha Markle’s defamation lawsuit against her half-sister Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, may have hit a roadblock Monday, when her attorney requested that a Florida federal court allow him to withdraw from the case.
Lawyer Douglas Kahle, who has been representing Samantha since she filed the lawsuit last month, submitted a formal motion to be allowed to step down as her attorney, stating that he and his client had “irreconcilable differences and fundamental disagreements regarding various aspects of this case and the strategy moving forward."
In the motion, Kahle said that Samatha had consented to his withdrawal and that he did not know if Samantha had retained a new attorney. (As of publication time, no documents have been filed indicating that she has hired a lawyer to replace him.) When contacted for comment, Kahle directed BuzzFeed News to his motion and declined to elaborate, citing attorney-client privilege.
In a post on the social media platform Gettr on Monday, Samantha responded to a user's question about whether her lawyer had “dropped” her as a client, saying, “he did not drop me as a client my official statement is that..a conflict of interest existed,..and I told him I did not feel that we could work together, so he withdrew as attorney of record. I initiated the separation. It’s not a big deal.i’m having another attorney come on board. The suit is still taking place.”
A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex declined to comment on this new development. When the lawsuit was filed last month, Sussex attorney Michael Kump told BuzzFeed News in a statement, “This baseless and absurd lawsuit is just a continuation of a pattern of disturbing behavior. We will give it the minimum attention necessary, which is all it deserves.”
In his motion, Kahle cited the American Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct 4-1.16(b), which lists the various reasons that a lawyer may withdraw from representing a client.
Samantha filed the defamation lawsuit against Meghan on March 3, claiming in her complaint that the Duchess of Sussex had “maliciously” lied about her family and childhood in interviews, particularly the blockbuster 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, in order to “destroy her sister’s and her father’s reputation and credibility in order to preserve and promote the false ‘rags-to-royalty’ narrative [Meghan] had fabricated.”
Samantha alleged that Meghan’s statements not only damaged her reputation but caused her to suffer actual damages in the form of lost employment and lost income from sales of her autobiography, The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister.
BuzzFeed News in March profiled Samantha and wrote about her history of promoting conspiracy theories about her half-sister Meghan online, particularly on Twitter and through communications with a popular (and now permanently suspended) anti-Sussex YouTuber.
BuzzFeed News reached out to Samantha for comment on her lawyer’s motion to withdraw from her case using an email address that was previously provided to this reporter by her partner, Mark Phillips.
A response from the email account to BuzzFeed News threatened a restraining order against this reporter. It is unclear if Samantha or Phillips was using the account at the time.
“THIS IS A CEASE AND DESIST, STOP STALKING AND DONT CONTACT ME AGAIN,” the email to BuzzFeed News said. “Ill be forwarding this to kensington palace snd all royal reporters, and im looking into authorities responsible for journalist ethics.”
When BuzzFeed News asked if, in Kahle’s absence, there was a spokesperson or lawyer to whom media inquiries could be addressed, the account replied, “i told yiy to cease snd desist, your harassing, stalking, and defaming,cease and desist, im blocking you now.”