British actor Hugh Grant and his ex-girlfriend Jemima Khan will be allowed to view police evidence that could show whether their phone messages were intercepted by a private investigator working for News of the World and other newspapers, a judge ruled on Wednesday, July 20.
News of the World, a UK tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., shut down earlier this month after 168 years amid allegations that its journalists hacked into cellphones of scores of people - namely, celebrities and a teenage murder victim, and enlisted the help of UK police.
Neither Grant nor Khan were present at the Wednesday hearing at Britain's High Court, during which a judge ordered police to allow the two to receive information regarding the possible hacking of their phone messages, the Reuters news wire reported. The two broke up in 2007 after a three-year relationship.
Grant had helped spearhead a legal battle against News of the World and other tabloids and said earlier this month that police had asked him to testify at an inquiry about the hacking scandal.
The issue has made global headlines and has raised questions as to whether other outlets owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp group used similar tactics. The organization owns the New York Post newspaper and Fox News, which are based in the United States.
Murdoch has said the allegations regarding News of the World were "deplorable and unacceptable." He testified at a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday and defended News Corp.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said on July 14 that it is examining allegations that News Corp may have tried to hack into the phone records of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Grant, 50, is known for films such as the 1994 movie "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and appeared opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in the 2009 flick "Did You Hear About The Morgans?"
He has been a tabloid favorite in the United Kingdom, especially following his 1995 arrest for soliciting a prostitute dominated tabloid headlines. Earlier this year, Grant wrote in an article published in The New Statesman magazine in April that he had secretly turned the tables on tabloid reporters and had taped a conversation with a former New of the World editor, Paul McMullan.
McMullan has said News of the World employed people to hack into cellphones, telling the BBC earlier this month: "Our interest was writing truthful stories and what better source of the truth that you can find on someone's old mobile (phone)."