Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tony Blair's wife sues over U.K. phone hacking

LONDON — The wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair is suing Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper company over phone hacking, her lawyer said Wednesday.

Cherie Blair is suing "in relation to the unlawful interception of her voicemails," lawyer Graham Atkins said in an email, making her one of the most high-profile people to challenge News International over its illegal eavesdropping campaign on politicians, celebrities, athletes and others public figures.

Tony Blair was British prime minister from 1997 to 2007. His home life occasionally became the subject of media gossip, and Cherie Blair had a particularly testy relationship with the tabloid press.

There had been earlier speculation that Cherie Blair's phone had been hacked. Tony Blair's former spokesman, Alastair Campbell, has long wondered aloud about how the Daily Mirror obtained the 1999 story of her pregnancy.

An inquiry into media ethics was set up last year amid public outrage over the illegal behavior at the News of the World tabloid.

Murdoch closed the 168-year-old paper in July after revelations it had hacked into the phone of a missing schoolgirl who later was found killed. Since then, police have made almost 40 arrests over phone hacking and related inquiries into bribing public officials and email hacking.

Murdoch's company has paid out millions in out-of-court settlements to about 60 hacking victims.

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