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Sen. Jay Rockefeller Asks Leveson If News International Violated US Law

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The head of the Senate committee overseeing the media has written to the Leveson inquiry about any possible violations of U.S. law by Rupert Murdoch's British subsidiaries.

The Senate Commerce Committee issued a statement on Wednesday that its chairman, Democrat Jay Rockefeller, had written to the inquiry, which is examining the ethics and practices of the British press. Rupert and James Murdoch both testified before the inquiry last week. On Tuesday, a parliamentary committee report called Murdoch "not a fit person" to lead a major company such as News Corp.

The letter, the statement said, "asks Lord Leveson if his inquiry has uncovered any new information suggesting that News International's conduct involved U.S. citizens or violated U.S. laws."

The question of whether News International broke American law has been a simmering undercurrent of the phone hacking scandal ever since it exploded last July. The Department of Justice and the FBI have been investigating possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars the bribery of public officials by American companies. Many News International journalists have been arrested in Britain in connection with such alleged schemes

Moreover, lawyers Norman Siegel and Mark Lewis announced earlier in April that they are representing at least four people who claim to have had their phones hacked on U.S. soil. At least some of those clients are American citizens.

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