It looks like the saga that’s engulfed the U.K. could make the leap across the pond, as a British lawyer has announced he’ll be taking legal action within the U.S. on behalf of three new alleged victims of phone-hacking.
Mark Lewis — a major thorn in News International’s side as the representative of the family of Milly Dowler, the teenage girl who had her phone hacked by the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World after she was murdered — is reportedly set to travel to New York to get the ball rolling on hacking incidents he said took place in the U.S. “I will be having a series of meetings regarding matters relating to phone hacking claims against the News of the World, which has issues in American jurisdictions,” Lewis told the Daily Telegraph.
(LIST: Who’s Who in the U.K. Phone-Hacking Scandal)
While the details of the claims are unknown, Lewis is expected to pursue legal action against News of the World, involving at least three people who allegedly had their phones hacked while on U.S. soil. The BBC reports that of the three, one is a “well-known sports person” and another is an American citizen. Lewis has declined to name his clients, saying that “people are entitled to some element of privacy.”
The scandal has so far been largely contained to the U.K., where dozens of arrests have been made with relation to alleged nefarious press practices, but no charges have been made. Still, there has been significant damage to Murdoch’s U.K. subsidiary, News International. Murdoch shuttered News of the World, though later launched SUN on Sunday, and his son and the company’s heir apparent, James Murdoch, recently resigned as the nonexecutive chairman of the broadcaster BskyB. What’s more, news of the U.S. lawsuits raises the possibility that the scandal could touch down on his stateside News Corporation empire, which includes Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.
As Lewis told the BBC, “This goes to the heartland of News Corporation and we’ll be looking at the involvement of the parent company in terms of claims there and that is something that will be taken more seriously by perhaps the investors and shareholders in News Corporation.” The BBC also reports that News International has so far declined to comment on Lewis’ statements.
Meanwhile, Britain has continued to deal with the scandal’s fallout. On April 12, the Independent Police Complaints Commission openly criticized Scotland Yard for compromising policy and blurring boundaries by appointing former News of the World executive Neil Wallis as a press adviser for the force.