Things could be getting nasty in the divorce between Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng.
When the octogenarian media mogul announced in June that he was leaving his wife of 14 years, most observers guessed that a quick, quiet split was on the books, at least in Murdoch's mind. His choice of lawyers, and the way the divorce proceedings was written, all appeared to point to a desire to move on swiftly.
On Tuesday, though, the New York Times reported that Deng had hired a new lawyer, something the paper said could be a sign things "could take an acrimonious turn."
The lawyer, William Zabel, has a somewhat mild-mannered look in the picture on his website. (He's even got a bow tie.) But nobody who's written a book called "The Rich Die Richer — And You Can Too," and who has represented several others in Deng's exact situation, should be taken lightly. The Times drily summed up one of his recent cases this way:
More recently, he represented Christina Lurie, the former wife of the Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who divorced after 20 years of marriage. Ms. Lurie remained a part owner of the team.
Much of the Murdoch fortune is tied up in prenuptial agreements, but the paper identified some key areas Deng could be targeting, including custody of the two children she had with Murdoch and the Fifth Avenue penthouse and yacht the couple shared.