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News International Settles With 19 Phone Hacking Victims, Fees May Reach $10M

Jude Law is one of those who has reached a settlement while Steve Coogan and other waits

News International settled with 19 phone hacking victims on Thursday, including actor Jude Law, to the tune of more than $1M.

The latest settlements, which bring the greater total to 36, occurred just before a trial against News Corp.'s British publishing subsidiary is set to begin.

Law netted just more than $200,000, and also claimed his phone was hacked at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, providing a fresh opportunity for prosecution on this side of the Atlantic.

The Department of Justice has been looking into claims that News Corp. employees hacked the phones of the families 9/11 victims, but so far nothing has come of it.

News International stands to pay millions because of widespread hacking at the now-shuttered British tabloid the News of the World. Whether such malfeasance occurred at other newspapers remains legally unproven.

Also Read: Hacking Settlement: News Corp. to Pay $4.7M to Family of Slain Girl, Charity

The victims claimed that senior officials at News Group Newspapers, a subsidiary of News International knew about the hacking and deliberately impeded the course of justice. NGN did not admit that, but did agree compensation could be assessed by that measure.

The Court also ruled on settlements for cases such as soccer player Ashley Cole, and Sara Payne, the mother of Milly Dowler, a murdered school girl whose case ignited the phone hacking scandal in July of 2011.

The victims will receive financial amounts ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.

There will be a full hearing for 10 more cases in Februrary, including those of actor Steve Coogan and musician Pete Doherty. They have refused to settle in advance of the trial.

There are hundreds of other potential cases, but this first case serves as a test for those that may follow.