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Harry & Meghan’s Paparazzi Chase & the Law in California
[Source: KNX News]
Host: We start with what is being called, at least by the royal couple’s spokesperson, a near-catastrophic car chase involving Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle and the paparazzi in New York. Larry McShane is a reporter covering this for the New York Daily News. Chris Melcher is a top family law attorney here in Los Angeles who represents celebrities. Gentlemen, thank you both for being with us.
Larry, let me start off, since you’re there covering it in New York, and being a New Yorker myself, I find the whole notion of a sort of wild near-catastrophic car chase through Manhattan somewhat hard to swallow. Am I swallowing badly?
Larry McShane: Oh, I don’t know. Mayor Adams is now saying it was more like 45 minutes, and then they turned up at a local police precinct, Harry and Meghan, and then it was somewhat resolved after that. So two hours might be a little long.
Host: But a car chase, I think that’s where we’re running into the burden of a car chase in New York with traffic the way it is would be like a car chase in downtown LA. How do you get around the cars?
Larry McShane: Well, it was 10 o’clock at night. It’s the summertime, not as busy as it usually is. Some of it happened on the FDR Drive, which is more of a freeway than driving actually in city traffic.
Host: Is there a sense, though, there that there might be some royal exaggeration?
Larry McShane: I haven’t heard that. It was addressed by the mayor who, other than the timeline, was pretty specific about what happened, and he kind of chewed out the paparazzi a bit and said they need to learn how to behave in New York City.
Host: Chris, let me ask you, you’re a celebrity divorce lawyer, you represent celebrities. If Harry and Meghan were your clients, what would be the next step for them in New York? And then a follow-up question, would it be different had it happened in California?
Celebrity Privacy Laws in California
Chris Melcher: Well, sure. I mean, in speaking to California, we have so much experience with these type of events happening before that we have a vehicle code section, which makes it a crime to interfere with the driver or follow too close, or drive recklessly for the purpose of taking a photograph and selling it.
That’s been tested with Justin Bieber, who was involved in a similar incident 11 years ago. And then we also have laws protecting the privacy of celebrities when they’re in a personal or family setting and the paparazzi invades their privacy or trespasses to get that photograph, they and the publisher can be sued. Those are the rights in California.
I’m not quite sure what they are in New York, but that would be the next step. What’s difficult for this, when we are counseling our clients is that we might be able to find out who the paparazzi is and who took the photograph, but a lot of times not. These photographs are sold, maybe resold. So we got to really trace it back to when it was published, who actually took that photograph, place them at the scene, and then initiate legal action against them.
Host: Larry, of course a lot of the interest in this story is centered on the fact that Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana died because of a car chase through the streets of Paris by paparazzi. So I’m wondering, when they arrived in New York City, do you have any indication of what kind of security precautions might have been taken? And clearly they didn’t work, or maybe they did work.
Larry McShane: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know the specifics. I do know that at some point they left in a big black SUV, and during the chase they abandoned the SUV, got into a New York taxi cab and were driven to the 19th precinct, which is where they spent the end of their night.
Host: All right, Larry McShane, reporter covering this for the New York Daily News. Also Chris Melcher, a high net worth family law attorney here in Los Angeles, California who represents celebrities.
@2023 KNX News. No claims made to copyrighted material. Aired 5/17/23
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