Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blairís wife Cherie sued News Corp. (NWSA) and a former private investigator who hacked into celebritiesí voice-mail messages to get stories for its now-defunct News of the World tabloid.
The lawsuit, filed yesterday against the companyís U.K. unit and Glenn Mulcaire, comes as News Corp. prepares for the first civil trial over the scandal, scheduled to start Feb. 27 in London. The company has already settled phone-hacking claims by Blairís former press chief, Alastair Campbell, and former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
ďIf it is true that a former prime ministerís family have been targeted by Rupert Murdochís hackers, then it is clearly a significant moment in the scandal,Ē Tom Watson, a Labour Party lawmaker who is on a parliamentary committee investigating the scandal, said in an e-mail.
A message left with the press office of News Corp.ís U.K. unit, News International, wasnít immediately returned. Mulcaireís lawyer, Sarah Webb, didnít immediately return a call seeking comment. Full details of the suit arenít yet available.