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Murdoch to pay Jude Law, others hacking damages

Jude Law talks 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' in this promotional video provided by Warner Bros. Pictures in December 2011. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

January 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper empire has agreed to pay damages to three dozen high-profile victims of tabloid phone-hacking, including actor Jude Law.

Details of the settlements were released on Thursday.

Law will receive about $200,000, and other victims include soccer player Ashley Cole and former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

News Group Newspapers admitted that 16 articles about Law published in the News of the World from 2003 to 2006 had been obtained by phone hacking. They also admitted that the actor has been placed under "repeated and sustained physical surveillance."

The company also admitted that articles in The Sun tabloid misused Law's private information - although it didn't go so far as to admit hacking.

Law said in a statement that Murdoch's tabloids were "prepared to do anything to sell their news papers and to make money, irrespective of the impact it had on people's lives."

The actor said he changed his phones and even had his home swept for bugs. When the information continued to hit the papers, however, he grew distrustful of those close to him.

Law is one of 60 people who have sued over the hacking conducted by employees at the News of the World tabloid, but the total number of victims is estimated to be in the hundreds.

So far, News Group Newspapers, which is owned by Murdoch, has settled 36 of the cases filed.

Other cases whose settlement was announced at London's High Court on Thursday include claims by former government ministers Chris Bryant and Tessa Jowell, rugby player Gavin Henson and Sara Payne, the mother of a murdered girl.

The slew of settlements is one consequence of the revelations of phone-hacking and other illegal tactics at the News of the World, where journalists routinely intercepted voicemails of those in the public eye in a relentless search for scoops.

Many victims had settled earlier with the company, including actress Sienna Miller and the parents of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, who were awarded 2 million pounds (about $3.1 million) in compensation.

Ten further cases are due to go to court next month, though lawyers said more settlements are likely.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.