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During their Oprah interview, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry opened up a little about the "invisible contract" the royal family has with the British tabloids and how the Palace played "an active role" in perpetuating falsehoods about the couple for the tabloids’ smear campaign of Meghan. But Byline Investigates shared a shattering new detail about the length the British press went to disparage Meghan, reporting The Sun hired an LA-based private investigator, Dan ‘Danno’ Hanks, to target Meghan and her father.
Meghan and Harry released a statement on Byline Investigates' report through their spokesperson. "The Duke and Duchess feel that today is an important moment of reflection for the media industry and society at large, as this investigative report shows that the predatory practices of days past are still ongoing, reaping irreversible damage for families and relationships," their rep said, via royal reporter Omid Scobie. "They are grateful to those working in media who stand for upholding the values of journalism, which are needed now more than ever before."
Hanks reportedly submitted his "secret dossier" on Meghan the same day news broke of Meghan and Harry dating in 2016. Byline Investigator ran redacted images of that report and Hanks’ invoice to The Sun on their site.
Hanks, according to the outlet, was able to obtain Meghan's and her father’s private information like their personal cell phone numbers. But most disturbingly, Hanks was also reportedly able to get Meghan’s Social Security Number, which is a criminal offense in both the U.S. and U.K., Byline Investigates points out. Hanks was also asked to "dig some dirt" on Meghan by investigating her ex-husband and two rumored ex-boyfriends but, as the site reported, "it appears that they couldn’t find any scandal on the Suits actress."
Hanks publicly apologized to Meghan in the piece, saying, "I’m sorry to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for targeting her family, particularly her dad, on behalf of The Sun. I never wanted to cause Meghan Markle harm, and wouldn’t have done the job if I’d have known it would lead to all these problems. I also wanted to take this opportunity to apologize to The Queen, because I realize the harm of what I did for The Sun has affected the whole family."
Meghan previously sued The Mail on Sunday's publishers for invasion of privacy after printing a private letter to her father. Meghan won that case last month.
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