LONDON — The actor Jude Law, the soccer star Ashley Cole, and Lord Prescott, a former British deputy prime minister, were named Thursday on a list of 36 victims of phone hacking who have reached settlements totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
A statement by lawyers representing hacking victims said that Mr. Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers, which published the now-defunct News of the World tabloid, had agreed to pay substantial damages on the basis “that senior employees and directors” of the company “knew about the wrongdoing and sought to conceal it by deliberately deceiving investigators and destroying evidence.”
While not explicitly admitting or denying those claims, the company agreed to set compensation on the basis that it was true. In doing so, it acknowledged, lawyers said, that it had deliberately covered up both the existence and the pervasiveness of The News of the World’s phone-hacking operation, lied about it to the police and Parliament, and destroyed evidence in the case.
Hmm - lying to police, lying to Parliament, destroying evidence, and covering up criminal activity - it sure sounds like Rupert Murdoch has a lot of bad, bad people working at News Corporation.
In fact, some of those bad people are right in his own family.
Like his son, James, who just might be next on the list to get arrested in the phone hacking case.
And yet, tomorrow we will not see a word of this News Corporation story about widespread criminal activity, conspiracy and cover-up in the pages of the News Corporation-owned New York Post.
We will, however, inevitably see a couple of articles about why teachers need to be fired.
Because you know how how a teacher forging a jury duty note is absolutely the worst crime ever, but News Corporation executives and directors lying to police, lying to Parliament, destroying evidence, and covering up criminal activity is just another day at the News Corporation office.
And just in case you think this Jude Law hacking case is the only one Murdoch is going to settle, here's what the lawyer in the case said:
Mark Lewis, a lawyer for many of the phone-hacking victims, said in an e-mail that the claimants’ fight against the Murdoch media properties was not over.
“It is important that we don’t get carried away into thinking that the war is over,” Mr. Lewis said, according to The Associated Press. “ There are many more cases in the pipeline.”
He added: “This is too early to celebrate, we’re not even at the end of the beginning.”
Wow - they're not even at the end of the beginning of this.
You can imagine what more will come in these cases.
Indeed, The Guardian reports today that a judge in another civil trial has ordered News Corporation to make available computers and laptops upon which News Corporation employees destroyed evidence of hacking:
News Group Newspapers has been ordered to allow a search of computers alleged to contain evidence that News of the World executives deliberately destroyed damning phone-hacking evidence.
During legal discussions on Thursday before a civil trial scheduled for 13 February, the company failed to convince Mr Justice Vos that the search of three laptops assigned to senior employees and six desktop computers was "disproportionate".
He said there were compelling questions about whether the paper had engaged in a campaign of deliberate destruction of evidence, had lied, deliberately concealed evidence, made payments to police, or had "actively tried to get off scot-free", including by destroying a "very substantial number of emails" and computers of journalists.
There we go again with more allegations of News Corporation employees destroying evidence, lying to authorities, conspiring to cover up criminal activity and offering bribes to police.
Offering bribes to police?
Wow - that's even worse than forging a jury duty note!
No wonder 20 former and current News Corporation employees - including the former editor of News of the World and aide to Prime Minister David Cameron, Andy Coulson, and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks - have been arrested in the case.
I keep writing the New York Post to ask the editors how they can pontificate about "bad teachers" who should be fired all the time from the op-ed pages of the Post when it is increasingly clear that the company they work for, News Corporation, is only slightly less criminal than an organized crime family like the Gambinos (but only slightly.)
They never write back to say.
They do, however, pontificate about a teacher who forged jury notes to get extra days off and how she should be fired.
I wonder when this hacking investigation is all through, how many of the News Corporation employees who worked on the FIRE TEACHERS stories in the Post will eventually end up in jail for criminal activity, cover-up, conspiracy, bribery, perjury, forgery and/or tampering with evidence in what has become a widespread case of corruption and rot at the core of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.