UK Phone Hacking Lawyer Brings News Corp Case To US

by
Reuters
The News of the World phone hacking scandal moved closer to the United States after British lawyer Mark Lewis teamed up with two New York lawyers to pursue claims that four of his clients had been hacked by Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct tabloid on U.S. soil.

Police officers walk outside an entrance to News International in London in this July 10, 2011 file photo. Pressure is building in Britain and Australia for fresh probes into Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, already under siege over phone-hacking claims, after allegations that it ran a secret unit that promoted pirating of pay-TV rivals. The Australian Financial Review on March 28, 2012 alleged that News Corp had used a special unit, Operational Security, set up in the mid-1990s, to sabotage its competitors, reinforcing claims in a BBC Panorama documentary aired earlier this week. Picture taken July 10, 2011.

The News of the World phone hacking scandal moved closer to the United States after British lawyer Mark Lewis teamed up with two New York lawyers to pursue claims that four of his clients had been hacked by Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct tabloid on U.S. soil.

One client is a U.S. citizen, and other potential victims of the "dark arts" of Murdoch's UK newspapers have contacted him, Lewis said at a press conference in New York on Thursday.

Lewis, whose persistence helped to expose widespread hacking by News of the World last summer, said he is working with Norman Siegel of Siegel Teitelbaum & Evans LLP and Steven Hyman of McLaughlin & Stern LLP.

Since last summer, Siegel and Hyman have been pursuing their own inquiry into the possible hacking of 9/11 victims' phones by News of the World. Murdoch shut down the tabloid abruptly in July after it was found to have hacked the voice messages of hundreds of people.

Lewis and his co-counselors said they are seeking evidence to file a U.S. lawsuit, claiming that his clients were hacked in the United States from 2001 to 2006.

Lewis declined to identify the clients, citing privacy issues.

Lewis represented the family of British teenage murder victim Milly Dowler in a case that exposed illegal newsgathering practices at News of the World. The scandal has spread to The Sun, a daily tabloid that is also part of Murdoch's media empire, with arrests of some of its journalists in recent months.

Siegel said he had already received about half a dozen calls since Monday from more people who said their phone messages might have been hacked by Murdoch's papers.

Lewis said he has not had any contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the matter.

News Corp (NWSA.O), Murdoch's New York-based conglomerate, declined to comment.

News Corp has so far not been disrupted by the scandal, which has largely been contained in the UK since its erupted in July. Its stock has risen about 5 percent since then.