Prince Harry suffers blow as Duke of Sussex could face 'stigma' if US visa documents are released

Prince Harry suffers blow as Duke of Sussex could face 'stigma' if US visa documents are released

WATCH NOW: Prince Harry could 'invest too much' in court cases

GB News
Dorothy Reddin

By Dorothy Reddin

Published: 26/05/2024

- 10:34

The father-of-two moved to the US in 2020 with his wife Meghan Markle

Prince Harry has suffered a blow as the Duke of Sussex could face "stigma" if his US visa documents were released, according to new court transcripts.

American government lawyers are fighting to keep "law enforcement" documents related to the Duke of Sussex's visa application secret, claiming there would be "stigma attached" if they were published.

The argument is contained in a 53-page court transcript, which was due to be released on Saturday.

This development comes after a hearing in February, where a conservative think-tank argued that details of the Duke of Sussex's March 2020 visa application, in particular, how he answered questions on drug use – should be made public.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry moved to the US in 2020


In the court transcript, lawyers for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claim Harry has a right to privacy and his visa documents should remain sealed.

In response to a question from the judge about the "privacy interest that the government is asserting on the duke's behalf", DHS lawyer John Bardo replied: "Well, many of these records, Your Honour, are law enforcement records."

He added that the records contained "confidential law enforcement tools and techniques". It is the first time law enforcement records have been mentioned in connection with the duke's visa case.

While it is currently unclear what records are being referred to, an LA-based immigration lawyer said last night: "Law enforcement records could mean the police, FBI, airport police, secret service, military police or even the highway patrol.

Prince HarryThe Duke of Sussex admitted to taking drugs in his autobiography SparePA

"The word that jumps out is 'stigma'. It is not a word you would expect to see in a routine visa application.

"It's a highly unusual word not usually seen in cases like this and it begs the question, what is in there that could attach a stigma to Prince Harry's application?

"There is no way of knowing until the records are made public."

Conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation is suing the DHS to try to force the release of all documents relating to how Harry entered and remains living in the US.

Nile GardinerNile Gardiner is Director of The Heritage FoundationGB News
Prince HarryPrince Harry stepped down as a working royal in 2020Reuters

Visa applicants must answer yes or no to the question: "Are you or have you ever been a drug abuser or addict?"

In his memoir Spare, Harry admitted taking cocaine, psychedelic mushrooms and marijuana in his past.

The Heritage Foundation has argued the autobiography meant the duke had given up any right to privacy. However, DHS lawyer Bardo said Spare "isn't sworn testimony or proof".

Judge Carl Nichols is reviewing the documents in private and is expected to make a judgment "within weeks" about whether they should be made public.

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