News Corp. launches wave of settlements over hacking

Posted: February 09, 2012

LONDON - Rupert Murdoch's News International has settled nearly all the cases against the company in the first wave of lawsuits for phone hacking by its journalists, with a new round of apologies and payouts announced Wednesday in a London court.

But a potentially damaging claim lodged by British singer Charlotte Church is still headed to trial later this month and a wave of new lawsuits - as many as 56 in all - is looming, lawyers told London's High Court.

News International, a division of News Corp., has tried hard to keep the phone-hacking cases from going to trial, launching its own compensation program and paying out millions of pounds in out-of-court settlements.

On Wednesday, lawyers announced that nine more lawsuits filed on behalf of about a dozen people had been settled, including cases brought by comedian Steve Coogan, former soccer star Paul Gascoigne, and maverick lawmaker George Galloway.

The lawsuits stem from revelations of phone hacking and other illegal tactics at the now-defunct Murdoch tabloid, the News of the World, where journalists routinely intercepted voice mails in a relentless search for scoops.

Murdoch closed the 168-year-old paper in July amid a wave of public revulsion over its 2002 interception of voice mails belonging to a missing 13-year-old girl, Milly Dowler, who was later found murdered. Murdoch and his company paid millions to the Dowler family.

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