Rupert Murdoch Calls on PR Guru Steven Rubenstein, Rebekah Brooks Is Arrested
LONDON – News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch has brought in Steven Rubenstein, a highly regarded public relations expert to help him amid the crisis he is facing.
Rubenstein helped salvage the reputation of U.S. chat show host David Letterman when he was blackmailed over a series of affairs with work colleagues.
Rubenstein, whose other clients also include Robert De Niro, was brought in mid-week. He is part of a team of lawyers and PR advisors that have been advising Murdoch amid the phone hacking scandal and its fallout. Rubenstein also has previously done work for Murdoch and for the New York Post, another publication owned by Murdoch's News Corp. His firm has also representated Paramount Pictures and its head Brad Grey.
Murdoch and the phone-hacking crisis at News International continued to dominate the airwaves, television and newsprint in the U.K. Sunday.
As Murdoch was reported to be in meetings being briefed on what he should and should not say come a parliamentary committee Tuesday by his team of hired hands, it also emerged that Rebekah Brooks, who on Friday had resigned as head of News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper unit, was arrested Sunday in the phone hacking scandal.
U.K. reports initially just said a woman was arrested.
Before long every news outlet in the U.K. from Sky News to the BBC were carrying reports that Brooks, 43, went to a London police station by appointment mid-day Sunday and was then held "on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and corruption allegations."
The BBC pointed to the fact Brooks had been arrested "by appointment," having made an initial arrangement to talk to the police Sunday afternoon British time. On arrival, she was then arrested. She is the tenth person to be in custody amid the phone hacking scandal.
Brooks, a long-time confidante of Murdoch, used to be editor at the shuttered The News of the World tabloid, which is at the heart of the phone hacking scandal.
The official arrest sheet is on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption.
Brooks was scheduled to appear - along with Murdoch and his son and News Corp. deputy COO James Murdoch - in front of a parliamentary committee on Tuesday testify.
There is now much speculation across the British media about the timings of Brooks’ arrest as it could potentially mean her appearance before the select committee is thrown into doubt.
Lawyers on all sides are now picking over the legal standpoint as it is possible she might no longer be able to answer questions in Parliament as she is now part of a police enquiry into phone-hacking.
After her resignation Friday, she said in a statement: "As chief executive of the company, I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place."
The weekend activity in the case came after a whirlwind Friday. Following the departure of Brooks that day, News Corp. also announced the resignation of 52-year company veteran Les Hinton as CEO of its Dow Jones unit and publisher of the Wall Street Journal.
Hinton was also a long-time Murdoch ally. He oversaw News International as executive chairman at the time of the alleged phone hacking.