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Prince Harry’s visa status challenged in federal court after admitting drug use

A federal court in Washington, D.C., will take up the issue of Prince Harry‘s visa status after a conservative think tank raised questions about his past drug use, mentioned in his recent memoir.

The Heritage Foundation, one of the largest conservative think tanks in Washington, is suing the United States Department of Homeland Security to find out whether proper procedures were followed in granting the Duke of Sussex his visa. In his recent memoir Spare, the duke revealed he had taken illegal drugs ranging from magic mushrooms to cocaine.

Britain's Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at an event.
Britain’s Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at an event.
(Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

“Widespread and continuous media coverage has surfaced the question of whether DHS properly admitted the Duke of Sussex in light of the fact that he has publicly admitted to the essential elements of a number of drug offenses in both the United States and abroad,” according to court documents Heritage filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Under U.S. immigration law, evidence of past drug use can be cited as grounds to reject a visa application, according to the Heritage Foundation’s complaint. The group says that unsealing Harry’s files is a matter of “immense public interest,” and is seeking those records under the Freedom of Information Act.

A hearing on the matter is slated for 2:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Harry was a no-show for a separate court trial in the United Kingdom on Monday in a dispute with U.K. publisher The Mirror. The case marks the first of three lawsuits against various media groups accused of unlawfully spying on him for scoops about the royal family.

Harry is scheduled to testify in the U.K. trial on Tuesday, but his lawyer was told last week that he should attend the proceedings on the first day in case opening statements ended early.

The duke is not expected to appear in U.S. federal court as the legal fight pits lawyers from the Heritage Foundation against government attorneys defending an ongoing block of his DHS records.

The group’s initial request for Harry’s records was rejected because he had not indicated that he “consented to his information being released,” the DOJ wrote in court filings.

The DOJ also argues “citations to speculation about the status of Prince Harry’s visa are not sufficient to meet the standard” to enhance the pace of releasing his records.

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