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June 27 (Bloomberg) -- News Corp. is pushing to limit the number of police files handed over to claimants suing the company over phone hacking at its News of the World newspaper.
Michael Silverleaf, a lawyer representing News Corp.’s U.K. unit, told a judge at a pre-trial hearing in London today that, rather than trawl through all the phone records, faxes and invoices seized by police during its investigation, there should be limited disclosure.
“We are concerned about the costs and the efficiency of the exercise,” Silverleaf said, adding that News Corp. has already admitted it was at fault and wants to “minimize the scope of litigation and maximize the benefits to individual claimants.”
While asking lawyers for plaintiffs to consider Silverleaf’s proposal, Judge Geoffrey Vos said he was concerned by any attempt to limit disclosure given the amount of public interest in the case.
News Corp. apologized in April and offered some plaintiffs settlements in the case, in which journalists and investigators linked to News of the World are accused of illegally accessing the mobile-phone messages of politicians, celebrities and athletes to get stories. News Corp.’s News International unit agreed to pay sports commentator Andy Gray 20,000 pounds and actress Sienna Miller 100,000 pounds.
Four people have been arrested by U.K. police in the latest probe into phone hacking at the paper, including its former news editor Ian Edmondson and chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck in April.
Lawyers for the more than two dozen public figures suing the News of the World have already been given documents containing the names of their clients. Names of people not involved in the case will be redacted to protect their identities.
--Editors: Christopher Scinta, Anthony Aarons
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