Latest Settlement in Phone Hacking Case Announced

Charlotte Church received $951,000 dollars and an apology from the former newspaper News of the World in the latest of civil settlements to come from the widespread phone hacking scandal, USA Today reports.  Church alleged that the tabloid hacked into her family’s voicemail, illegally gathering private information that was used in 33 articles about the singer’s family. More than 60 other celebrities have won large settlements from the company, which has been scampering to settle every lawsuit against them as quickly as possible.  As part of these agreements, News Corp admits to no wrongdoing.  However, criminal investigations into the company, which also owns the Fox network of companies and many other newspapers and outlets, are still ongoing.

It will be interesting to see how these criminal investigations play out.  While the court documents and settlements all declare no wrongdoing and make no legal decisions against New Corp., the determination to brush these settlements under the rug is certainly suspect.  When 60 people claim evidence against a company and that company chooses every time to pay those people money instead of fight the evidence, it makes one wonder what will come to light once a real criminal trial is underway.  After all, News Corp. may be reasoning that any information admitted to the public record during a trial may be damning in a future criminal case and that settlement money is mere drop in the bucket compared to the many others that may come forward based on that information.  Considering that they have been suspected of destroying evidence related to the phone hacking, perhaps they are just buying more time with these settlements.