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Phone hacking lawsuits to be filed in US courts

Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, in this file image.

LONDON -- Lawsuits over alleged phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation are to be filed in United States courts for the first time.

Mark Lewis, the lawyer who has been at the forefront of efforts to expose phone hacking at newspapers opened by News Corporation's British subsidiary, expects to file civil lawsuits on behalf of three alleged victims.


One is believed to be connected to the late Diana, Princess of Wales and the Royal household while a second is linked to the England soccer team. The third is described as a "Hollywood case" because the individual was in contact with a celebrity. All three claim that the offenses took place while they were on American soil.

 

The threat of legal action in the U.S. is likely to expose News Corp to further embarrassing claims and bring the scandal closer to its headquarters in New York.

Timeline: News Corp and the phone hacking scandal

Lewis was flying to San Francisco Thursday, from where he will travel next week to New York in order to meet with U.S. lawyers to discuss the cases.

In an email to msnbc.com Lewis confirmed reports that he expects to bring three lawsuits on behalf of clients and a fourth alleging wrongdoing at News Corp. He told the Daily Beast on Wednesday that the fourth lawsuit would center on "perhaps the dirty tricks that might have been used in order to further the commercial aims for News Corporation."

At least one of the cases involves allegations that the phone of a U.S. citizen was hacked, and Lewis said more U.S. victims of phone hacking were likely to emerge.

He told the Daily Beast: "This is getting wider. It's not just the people who were A-list or celebrities, but people who were in their circles — people who might call them or work with them."

Meanwhile, police regulators in Britain on Thursday said senior detectives showed poor judgment in their close relationship with executives at Murdoch's News Of The World tabloid.

A former executive at the newspaper, which was shut down in July 2011 amid public outrage at phone hacking revelations, was appointed as an adviser to London's Metropolitan Police, and his daughter also secured a job with the force.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said professional boundaries at the police force "became blurred," the BBC reported

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