Mark Lewis, a UK lawyer who represents the family of hacking victim Milly Dowler, has consulted with U.S. lawyers about bringing a case against the News Corp. board within the next couple weeks.
Lewis told various news outlets that he instructed New York-based lawyer Norman Siegel to get statements from News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, his son James, who oversees the company's international subsidiaries, and other members of the board of directors.
He advised Siegel to pursue depositions even before filing papers, which should happen next week.
Lewis is already in the process of negotiating the biggest settlement in the hacking scandal, on behalf of Dowler's family. Back in 2002, Dowler, a 13-year old girl, was abducted and later killed. When reports surfaced that the British Tabloid the News of the World, which was owned by News Corp., hacked Dowler's phone, the scanda erupted like never before.
This latest case could investigate a few different claims, principal among them the hacking of 9/11 victims and bribery of foreign officials. Said bribery would violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and Lewis told the Guardian he would look into the possibility of a class action suit centered around the FCPA.
This is the latest signal that the phone hacking scandal may spread to the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice has been looking into claims of both hacking and bribery, and it sent a letter to News Corp. earlier this week seeking more information about the alleged bribery.
News Corp. already faces a lawsuit from shareholders in Delaware, and further legal action in the U.S. — be it a DOJ suit or a class action suit — would be of far greater concern than its UK legal troubles. The media conglomerate has far more invested in U.S. properties and it is more reliant on them for its financial success an stability.
News Corp. board members and employees have consistently denied any hacking links to its U.S. properties, though it initially said the News of the World hacking was perpetrated by one rogue reporter.