News Corp. Phone Hacking Scandal: U.K. Lawyer Plans to File U.S. Lawsuits

 

LONDON -- A U.K. lawyer who has been a key player in the News Corp. phone hacking scandal is expected to file civil lawsuits in the U.S., according to reports.

That would bring the scandal, which has engulfed the Rupert Murdoch-controlled conglomerate, to U.S. courts for the first time, potentially increasing attention on the topic and pressure on the company by bringing it to its U.S. headquarters. The company so far has managed to keep the scandal focused on the U.K.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, lawyer Mark Lewis, who has represented claimants in the phone hacking affair, confirmed for the first time that he plans to file three lawsuits on behalf of clients who claim that their phones were hacked by the new-defunct News of the World while they were in the U.S. Additional cases could follow, he signaled.

At least one case involves allegations that the phone of a U.S. citizen was hacked, it reported. “This is getting wider,” Lewis, who is expected to meet with U.S. lawyers in the coming days, told The Daily Beast.

Lewis is expected to hold discussions in the coming days with New York-based legal partner, Norman Siegel, a former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, The Guardian reported.

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph reported that one of the suits is believed to be connected to the late Princess Diana and the British royals, another to England's national soccer team, with the third having a Hollywood connection, because it seems focused on an individual who was in contact with a celebrity. Previous reports had mentioned that soccer star David Beckham, a friend of actor Jude Law's and Princess Diana's butler could be a focus in U.S. hacking cases.

News Corp. didn't comment.

But the conglomerate repeatedly has said that it is committed to getting to the bottom of any wrongdoing and has cooperated with authorities. It also has investigated practices across News International titles and formulated new governance standards.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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