Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife Cherie sued News Corp. and a former private investigator who hacked into celebrities’ voice-mail messages to get stories for its now-defunct News of the World tabloid.
The lawsuit, filed yesterday against the company’s U.K. unit and Glenn Mulcaire, comes as News Corp. prepares for the first civil trial over the scandal, scheduled to start Feb. 27 in London. The paper has already settled phone-hacking claims by Blair’s former press chief, Alastair Campbell and former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
Murdoch’s New York-based company shuttered the News of the World in July in a bid to contain public anger after it was revealed the tabloid hacked into the voice mails of a murdered school girl. While most of the current lawsuits have settled, the company still faces possible claims by more than 800 likely victims identified by police.
A message left with the press office of News Corp.’s U.K. unit, News International, wasn’t immediately returned. Full details of the lawsuit aren’t yet available.
An e-mail and text message to Tony Blair’s representatives didn’t immediately receive a response. A spokesman at Cherie Blair’s law firm, Matrix, declined to comment.
Campbell, the former press chief, told a judge-led inquiry into U.K. media ethics in November that, in light of the number of stories about Cherie Blair that were published, he accused her assistant Carole Caplin of leaking stories. Caplin has since been told her phone was also hacked, he said.
“We were very concerned about how many stories about Cherie and Carole were getting out,” Campbell said at the inquiry.
Last month London-based News International paid 130,000 pounds ($204,000) to settle claims by the actor Jude Law and 50,000 pounds to settle the claim by his ex-wife, Sadie Frost.
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