Prince Harry settles phone-hacking claim against British tabloid

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, will receive a “substantial” payout after he settled the remainder of his phone-hacking claim against the publisher of the Daily Mirror on Friday, according to multiple reports.

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Harry accused Mirror Group Newspapers of hacking phones, using private investigators for unlawful activities and gathering information by deception or “blagging,” according to The Guardian. A judge in December ruled that phone hacking became “widespread and habitual” at MGN properties in the late 1990s and that Harry’s phone was hacked “to a modest extent” by the group, the newspaper reported.

On Friday, his barrister told the High Court that Harry had settled his remaining claims against MGN, BBC News reported. The company will pay the duke’s legal costs, starting with an interim payment of £400,000 (about $505,000). The final amount to be paid for damages will be determined later, The Associated Press reported.

Harry was awarded £140,600 (about $177,000) in damages after Judge Timothy Fancourt ruled that about half of the 33 articles examined at trial were the result of unlawful acts, according to Reuters.

“MGN will pay the Duke of Sussex a substantial additional sum by way of damages and all the costs of his claim,” Harry’s attorney, David Sherborne, said in court on Friday, according to BBC News.

The settlement avoids separate trials set to examine 115 tabloid articles that Harry says were written using facts gained through hacking and other illegal intrusions, the AP reported.

In a statement read by Sherborne outside the court, Harry — who is back in the U.S. after visiting the U.K. following his father’s cancer diagnosis earlier this week — said that he felt vindicated and that he will continue to confront the British media.

“Everything we said was happening at Mirror Group was in fact happening, and indeed far worse as the Court ruled in its extremely damning judgement,” he said, calling for authorities to “uphold the rule of law and to prove that no one is above it.”

He specifically called out former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, saying that he “knew perfectly well what was going on, as the judge held.”

A vocal critic of Harry and his wife, the former Meghan Markle, Morgan in December denied having hacked any phones or instructed anyone to do so, Reuters reported. He said that Harry was intent not on reforming the press but on destroying the monarchy, according to the news agency.

Harry is one of about 100 people, including actors and sports stars, who have sued MGN for hacking and unlawful activities spanning from 1996 until 2011, Reuters reported.

In a statement obtained by The Guardian, MGN said it was “pleased to have reached this agreement, which gives our business further clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago and for which we have apologised.”

A spokesperson for the company, now owned by Reach, added, “Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologise unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid compensation,” Reuters reported.

Suits filed by Harry accusing the publisher of The Sun and the Daily Mail of unlawful snooping remain ongoing, according to the AP.