News Corp. will face three phone hacking-related legal battles in the U.S., according to hacking victims lawyer Mark Lewis.
The pending lawsuits represent the first of their kind in the U.S. The phone hacking scandal, which exploded open in the summer of 2011 and closed the 168-year-old tabloid News of the World , was predominately confined to News Corp.'s British subsidiary, News International. Over time, individuals in the U.S. including celebrities and families of 9/11 victims worried that their phones had been hacked.
Lewis, who represents the family of the late Milly Dowler and more hacking victims, told The Daily Beast that all three cases center around high-profile people. Lewis said that one case "was connected to the royal household and to Princess Diana...another case was connected to England's national football team," and the third case was connected to Hollywood. He noted that the hacking was not solely targeted to the high-profile person. "It’s not just the people who were A-list or celebrities, but people who were in their circles," he told The Daily Beast.
Lewis spoke of the significance of the first hacking-related U.S. lawsuits. "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," he said to the BBC.
News Corp. has settled more than 60 hacking-related claims but still face more. Following a parliamentary investigation into News International and the phone hacking scandal, an official inquiry into press ethics was launched to examine the relationship between the tabloid press, British authorities, and ethics. News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch and his son James, who heads News International, are expected to appear before the inquiry later this month.
View a timeline of the phone hacking scandal below: