Prince Harry's ESPY honour slammed amid accusations he destroyed evidence in phone hacking case

Trouble seems to be piling up for Prince Harry. Here’s what’s happening!

Prince Harry The Sun phone hacking case 'deliberately destroying evidence' Pat Tilman award ESPN slammed Mary Tilman
© Max Mumby/Getty_Images
Prince Harry The Sun phone hacking case 'deliberately destroying evidence' Pat Tilman award ESPN slammed Mary Tilman

Prince Harry’s life is a total rollercoaster from one extreme to another. The Duke recently received heavy criticism for his ‘unofficial Royal Tour’ to Nigeria. It was later revealed that Ghana may also want to invite the Sussex couple after their successful Nigerian tour - a potential move that is also not loved by many people.

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Amidst this, the Duke has more trouble heading his way. This comes as he sued The Sun over a privacy breach. Now the newspaper has accused him of destroying evidence.

What’s more? His next honour is slammed by the war hero’s family. Here’s what is heading his way.

Prince Harry accused of ‘deliberately destroying’ evidence in his phone hacking case

Prince Harry has been accused of ‘deliberately destroying’ potential evidence in his case against the News Group Newspapers (NGN) - the publisher of The Sun newspaper. In December 2023, the Duke was awarded $180,700 after London’s High Court ruled he had been a victim of ‘modest’ phone-hacking and other lawful information gathering by journalists on British newspapers, reports the New York Post. Prince Harry wasn’t the only popular face who sued The Sun, Hugh Grant also sued them.

Six months after the ruling, an attorney for the NGN - Anthony Hudson - has accused Harry of engaging in ‘shocking’ and ‘extraordinary’ obfuscation. According to MailOnline, at a hearing on Thursday, June 27, NGN asked the judge to order Harry's side to hand over a trove of documents which might contain evidence relevant to the case. These documents included messages exchanged between the Duke and JR Moehringer - the ghostwriter of his memoir Spare.

Attorney Anthony Hudson claimed that the Duke deliberately destroyed text messages that could be relevant to the case. Justice Timothy Fancourt agreed with Hudson and said it was ‘inherently likely’ that ‘matters would have been said’ by the pair that could be relevant to the case. He added:

I have seen troubling evidence that a large number of potentially relevant documents and confidential messages between the duke and the ghostwriter of Spare were destroyed sometime between 2021 and 2023, well after this claim was underway. 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.

Meanwhile, Harry’s barrister David Sherborne confirmed that the chat history was deleted but not to hide anything relevant to the case. He claimed it was a necessary process that was in place in secure information about Prince Harry and the Royal Family, and make sure there were no leaks that could being damaging.

Sherborne claimed that NGN was engaging in a ‘classic fishing expedition’ by requesting documents so late in the case. He said in the court papers:

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.
This is untrue. In fact, the claimant has already made clear that he has conducted extensive searches, going above and beyond his obligations.

Justice Fancourt eventually ordered that efforts should be made to retrieve messages between Harry and JR Moehringer. Additionally, he ordered Prince Harry’s legal team to write to the King’s private secretary, keeper of the Privy Purse and his treasurer, asking them to submit all records of communication with Harry.

Prince Harry’s new honour challenged by war hero’s family

The court case doesn’t end the troubles for Prince Harry.

In a new development, it was revealed that the Duke will be given the Pat Tillman Award which is given to unsung heroes. Pat Tillman was an American football star who gave up a £3 million contract to enlist in the US Army after 9/11. On April 22 2004, Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan at the young age of 27.

The award is presented by ESPN at the ESPY Awards (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly). It is given to someone who has used their connection to the world of sports to positively impact the lives of others.

This year, ESPN has decided to give that award to Prince Harry for his ‘tireless work in making a positive impact for the veteran community through the power of sport’ with the Invictus Games. According to MailOnline that decision has led to a backlash. A petition has demanded ESPN to think again before giving the award to Prince Harry.

This comes after Mary Tillman - mother of US hero and former NFL player Pat Tillman - also slammed ESPN’s decision to give the award to Prince Harry. Mary claimed that ESPN didn’t consult her before announcing the award’s recipient, reports New York Post. She said:

I am shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award.

She added:

There are recipients that are far more fitting. There are individuals working in the veteran community that are doing tremendous things to assist veterans.
These individuals do not have the money, resources, connections or privilege that Prince Harry has. I feel that those types of individuals should be recognised.

Last year’s recipient was the Buffalo Bills training staff who revived Damar Hamlin, who had suffered a cardiac arrest in the middle of a game. Not just Mary, but ESPN analysts Pat McAfee also accused its own network of ‘trying to piss people off’ by picking Prince Harry for the award. Pat said his talk show on Friday, June 28:

It’s going to Prince Harry, who I don’t even think is a Prince anymore, right? He said don’t call me that? See, why does the ESPYs do this sh*t?
This is like actually the most embarrassing thing I’ve seen in my entire life.

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Sources Used

New York Post: Prince Harry ‘deliberately destroyed’ potential evidence in phone hacking case, court hears

Daily Mail: Prince Harry is ordered by judge to explain himself after being accused of 'deliberately destroying' messages with Spare ghostwriter after launching case against The Sun newspaper

Daily Mail: Backlash grows after Prince Harry wins award set up to honour war hero

New York Post: Mother of slain US hero Pat Tillman slams decision to honor Prince Harry with son’s award: ‘I am shocked’

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