Murdoch's News Corp. Phone Hacking Scandal: Steve Coogan Settles Case for $66,000
LONDON – News Corp. Wednesday settled out of court with the majority of remaining phone-hacking victims who planned to take legal action, but may still have to fight a very public battle with singer Charlotte Church who will still proceed to trial next month.
News Corp. has now agreed to pay damages to a roster of famous names including actor Steve Coogan, one of the News of The World’s most persistent critics, who has agreed to settle for around $66,000 plus legal damages, after being told by police that he had been targeted by illegal investigations carried out by the now-shuttered paper.
Footballer Paul Gascoigne, MP Simon Hughes and former spokesman for Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell have also settled their cases.
Out of the original test cases that were prepared for court, only the claim brought by singer Charlotte Church and her family remains. However, six further claimants are understood to have come forward.
Last month News Corp. agreed settlements totaling over a million dollars plus undisclosed legal costs – which are thought to run into tens of millions – to clear a raft of phone hacking cases.
Actor Jude Law, singer Danni Minogue and sports star Ashley Cole were among those to accept damages and apologies from the publisher of the News of The World.
The settlements in the civil cases come as the company prepares for the commencement of possible criminal prosecutions against former staff at the newspaper and at sister titles within News International.
More than 20 former staff have been arrested to date, including former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, former News of The World editor Andy Coulson and four current serving reporters at The Sun.