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Saturday 25 February 2012

Murdoch Is Served (67)

While Rupe’s downmarket troops prepare for the launch of the Sunday Sun, the news from the USA is not so good: following the suspicion of illegality about the story run by the Screws over Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s marriage breakdown, and the suggestion that Jude Law had his phone accessed on US soil, comes news of another potential victim, this time from the West Coast.

Deadline Hollywood has revealed that the Met has advised Hollywood music agent Julie Colbert that her phone may have been hacked. Ms Colbert may not have been of interest to Rupe’s troops, but one of her clients – singer Charlotte Church, who has just settled out of court for a sum rumoured to be not unadjacent to £500,000 – certainly was.

Ms Church had stayed at the Colbert house for some months as a means of putting some distance between herself and the pack of hacks and snappers that had been in constant pursuit back in the UK. Ms Colbert had travelled extensively between Los Angeles and London, so it’s possible that her phone was hacked in the UK. But Mulcaire’s notes apparently contain several US numbers.

These include Ms Church’s publicist Kevin Chiaramonte, who works out of New York, and that of Ms Colbert. As Bloomberg has diplomatically put it, “The presence of the U.S. phone numbers in Mulcaire’s notes also may complicate the company’s effort there to contain lawsuits”. As the latter report also notes, News Corp was not rushing to return calls on the subject.

These potentially new developments come on the back of the further revelation that the Murdoch empire could be hit with a case under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) which prohibits overseas corruption by US companies. In addition to that, there is the potential for the Pitt and Aniston case to be the result of a wiretap. And the UK actions keep on coming.

Cherie Booth QC is one of the latest to join the queue of these, with the next milestone coming next Monday before Mr Justice Vos at the high court. What will also be decided is the extent to which court papers will be made available to the deeply subversive Guardian, despite protestations from Mulcaire and his team, who have joined Sun hacks in invoking human rights law.

So it looks like there will be precious little for the Murdochs to cheer as the Super Soaraway Sunday Steamer launches tomorrow. There are still around 800 victims of phone hacking to go, the weekday Sun is in the mire for allegedly bunging the rozzers more than a few drinks, and the lid may be about to be prised off a new can of worms in the USA.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer family. Bring it on.

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