Settlements in phone hack scandal nets big pay day for aides, publicists, relatives

For the first time News Corp. execs admit condoning years-long pattern of phone hacks

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"News Group has agreed to compensation being assessed on the basis that senior employees and directors of NGN knew about the wrongdoing and sought to conceal it by deliberately deceiving investigators and destroying evidence," according to the statement from victims' lawyers.

Having your voice mail hacked is bad enough, but the harassment is much worse when reporters and photographers follow you in the real world as well, according to a statement from actor Jude Law, who claims he was followed around his own neighborhood, on his travels around Britain and even overseas. He reportedly settled his suit for £130,000 pounds plus court costs. His former wife, model Sadie Frost, got £50,000.

"It is clear that I, along with many others, was kept under constant surveillance for a number of years," according to a statement issued by Law's lawyers. "No aspect of my private life was safe from intrusion by News Group newspapers, including the lives of my children.

Law's former PR rep got £35,000 and his personal assistant got £40,000.

Law's efforts to discover how reporters were obtaining private information about his travel plans helped focus police investigations on cell phone voice mails rather than microphones hidden in the house or other places Law suspected he was being spied on.

Other victims who settled and received payments of between £ 30,000 and £40,000 include several members of parliament, professional soccer players, a close friend of Prince Harry as well as actresses Ashley Cole and Gwyneth Paltrow, singer Charlotte Church and comedian Steve Coogan.

High-profile publicist Max Clifford, whose clients include entertainers, politicians and professional athletes, reportedly received a million pounds, while the family of Milly Dowler – the 13-year-old murdered in 2002, whose voice-mail hacking became the hammer prosecutors used to break down NOTW's resistance, reportedly received £ 2 million.

Despite settlements with 35 of the 60 victims currently suing News Corp. neither the scandal nor the lawsuits are anywhere close to finished, according to lawyers for victims whose cases are in the next wave of prosecutions.

Mark Lewis, a lawyer for many of the phone hacking victims, said in an email that the fight against Murdoch's empire was not over.

Photo Credit: 

Reuters

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