Hugh Grant gets huge payday in phone-tapping suit

Rupert Murdoch's publishing company settles with 144 victims but may owe others a lot more after upcoming trials end.

By Jason Notte Feb 8, 2013 3:44PM
Credit: Henry Lamb/Photowire/BEI/Rex Features
Caption: Hugh GrantHugh Grant finally has a reason not to be flustered.

The British actor received a sizable settlement from the publishing branch of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NWS) Friday to end a lawsuit related to phone hacking by some of Murdoch's employees.

Lawyers for Grant, best known for his roles in such romantic comedies as "Love Actually" and "Bridget Jones's Diary," told CNN the actor received “substantial damages” from Murdoch and company as part of 144 such lawsuits settled Friday.

Grant had been a vocal critic of the wiretapping practices that led to the closure of British tabloid News Of The World and criminal charges against editor Andy Coulson, who went on to be a spokesman for U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. Grant's payout doesn't end the saga for Murdoch and his News International publishing company, as seven other cases are going to trial in June and another 20 are still being discussed.

It just continues a tough stretch for Murdoch that included a public inquiry into press regulations in the United Kingdom, the relationship between journalists and figures of authority and the role Murdoch's tabloids have played in the media's downfall in that country. Murdoch's company also had to pay out sizable sums to actor Christopher Eccleston, best known for his stint as The Doctor in British television series “Doctor Who,” as well as Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, magician Uri Geller and countless other celebrities, politicians and crime victims who had their phones tapped.

Former News International head Rebekah Brooks also faced criminal charges, as did reporters for News Of The World and The Sun, but Murdoch himself wasn't left unscathed. The controversy scuttled his plans to take over British pay-TV provider and news outlet BskyB and, combined with the failure of Apple iPad-exclusive news publication The Daily, led News Corp. to separate its publishing and broadcasting branches into separate companies.

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Feb 8, 2013 4:48PM

Murdock deserves it...he was absolutely not paying attention to or moneriting the clowns that ran his news agency.....Now if could just sue all the clowns at CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC that have been doctoring the truth and feeding the country pure self edited diatribe.....

Feb 8, 2013 7:09PM
Nice to hear he's getting a big payday.  Haven't seen him do much lately.  Can't say I miss his ever blinking eyes.
Feb 11, 2013 9:45PM

News casters is their reliance on local officials,police officers,indebted gamblers,irate employees,waiters,and valets.

People are outraged by  phone tapping. Under normal conditions the gossip gathered by newsmen is tainted because the informers seldom appear.What is worse,the newsmen say they are:

    "protecting their sources"

How does the reader even know these sources exist?They cannot be brought before  judge or an opposing attorney.

Feb 9, 2013 11:06AM
Not surprising really. Heck, with websites like this spawning up all over the place, it's no surprise that governments and journalists are tapping phones left, right and center. People are using this kind of software for spying on their own spouses, for crying out loud!
@; Too bad >50% of Americans disagree with you. All I hear from ignorant people like you is insults toward our chosen leader. Why can't you be respectful of a man holding the highest office in the USA. Are you racist, a conspiracy theorist, a religious zealot, an assault gun owner? Get prepared for having a democrat woman president in 2016.
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