On August 3, 2011, I mentioned a British lawyer named Charlotte Harris who, with a partner, represented several clients in successful lawsuits against the Murdoch machine in the eavesdropping and hacking scandal.
Yesterday, in the New York Times, Harris was mentioned again:
Britain: Tabloid Spied on Lawyers, Newspaper Company Confirms
The News of the World hired a detective to spy on two lawyers representing victims in the phone-hacking scandal and their families, Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper group confirmed Monday. The detective, Derek Webb, told the BBC he had been commissioned in 2010 to follow Mark Lewis and Charlotte Harris, lawyers who represented multiple clients who claimed that The News of the World, since closed, had illegally intercepted their voicemail. The BBC, citing internal newspaper documents, said the company hoped to prove that the lawyers were romantically involved, which could have forced them to decline further phone-hacking cases. News International, the British arm of Mr. Murdoch’s newspaper chain, said in a statement that though the surveillance was not illegal, “It was clearly deeply inappropriate in these circumstances,” and that no current executive had condoned it.
I started to write “unbelievable.” But since it’s Murdochian, it’s all too believable, as well as sleazily stupid. And I mean, what exactly does “could force them to decline further phone-hacking cases” mean? It means BLACKMAIL.
And are you, too, getting furious about that phrase, “clearly deeply inappropriate”? I think it’s more than “inappropriate.” I think it’s criminally repulsive. And despite my ignorance of British law, I’m not sure that this action was “not illegal.” Even if “not illegal,” I’ll bet these lawyers have a lawsuit themselves against Murdoch.
And let me reprint that phrase “The BBC, citing internal newspaper documents…” What “internal newspaper documents” means is: discovery. I love discovery. Oh, I’ve said that previously, haven’t I?