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Hugh Grant settles lawsuit alleging illegal hacking by The Sun newspaper

Hugh Grant settles lawsuit alleging illegal hacking by The Sun newspaper

London (AFP) – Hugh Grant The actor said on Wednesday, after announcing the agreement in court, that he had accepted a “huge sum of money” to settle a lawsuit accusing The Sun of illegally tapping his phone, bugging his car and breaking into his home to bug him.

Grant said he settled reluctantly because of court policy that could have stuck him with a massive legal bill even if he prevailed at trial — a reality that might also force him to Fellow plaintiff, Prince Harry Their lawyer said to settle. The civil court ruling, intended to avoid confusion with the courts, required Grant to pay legal fees to both sides if he won at trial but received anything less than a settlement offer.

“As is common with completely innocent people, they are offering me a huge sum of money to keep this matter out of court,” Grant said on social media platform X. Even if every allegation is proven in court, I will still be accused.” Responsible for costs approaching £10 million ($12.4 million). I'm afraid I'm ashamed of this fence.

The settlement amount was not disclosed. NGN said in a statement that it did not admit any liability and said the settlement was in the financial interest of both parties to avoid a costly trial.

Grant and other claimants alleged that NGN, a subsidiary of the media empire she built Rupert MurdochThey violated their privacy through widespread illegal activity that included hiring private investigators to intercept voicemail messages, wiretapping phones, eavesdropping on cars, and using deception to access confidential information between 1994 and 2016.

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Grant is among several celebrities, including actress Sienna Miller, football star Paul Gascoigne and Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm, who have settled claims against the publisher.

Attorney Gideon Benaim, who was not involved in the case, said the publisher may have used “incredibly strong” court rules by making an offer that Grant was unlikely to overcome at trial. If the judge awards Grant an amount less than the settlement offer, he will face significant legal costs under the rules.

“Hugh Grant was never in any doubt by his counsel that the offer had been made such that there was a real risk that he would not prevail at trial,” Benaim said. “So, although he may have preferred to fight this case, the financial risks were simply too great and he had, in effect, no choice but to settle.”

The Duke of Sussex and 41 others are due to appear before the Supreme Court next January, although their lawyer said the settlements were “coercively imposed” on them.

“The Duke of Sussex is subject to the same issues as Sienna Miller and Hugh Grant, which is that the offers made make it impossible for them to move forward,” David Sherborne told the judge on Wednesday at a hearing. the case.

The settlement came less than a year after Judge Timothy Fancourt rejected NGN's attempt to throw out Grant's lawsuit alleging illegal information gathering.

“If true…these allegations would lead to very serious and willful wrongdoing at NGN, which was conducted on a widespread, institutional basis,” Fancourt wrote in May. “They will also make a concerted effort to conceal wrongdoing through the concealment and destruction of relevant documentary evidence, repeated public denials, lies to regulators and authorities, and unjustified threats to those who dared to make allegations or notify the intended claims against The Sun.”

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Grant said in a witness statement that he was never able to find out who broke into his fourth-floor apartment in 2011. The door had been ripped off its hinges and the inside looked like there had been a fight but nothing was missing. Two days later, The Sun had a story detailing the internal details and “signs of internal discord.”

He said he was astonished when an investigator hired by The Sun revealed that people working for the newspaper had burgled his apartment and placed a tracking device on his car.

Grant, who previously settled a case against Murdoch's News of the World newspaper for allegedly hacking his phone, said he would not go quietly.

“The Murdoch settlement money stinks, and I reject this as secret money,” he said. “I have spent the better part of 12 years fighting for a free press that does not distort the truth, abuse ordinary members of the public, or hold elected[members of Parliament]to ransom for the personal gain of the newspaper barons and their political power.”

Grant said he would direct the money to groups like Hackedwhich was formed after Detection of phone hacking In 2011 it brought down the News of the World and led to a government investigation into illegal journalistic practices. Grant is a board member of the group that advocates for a free and accountable press.

While the now-defunct News of the World apologized for hacking the phones of celebrities, politicians, families of dead soldiers and a murdered schoolgirl, The Sun settled the cases without admitting responsibility.

For Prince Harry, the case against The Sun is one of three similar lawsuits he has filed in his campaign to tame Britain's tabloids. He says the papers have haunted him most of his life, and he blames them for the death of his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car accident while being pursued by paparazzi.

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Last year, it is He won his first case to go to trial When Fancourt found that phone hacking was “widespread and routine” in the newspapers of the Mirror Group. In addition to a court ruling, it is Recently settled The remaining claims included his legal fees. The total amount has not been announced, but he was due to receive an interim payment of 400,000 pounds ($498,000).

He has another case pending against the owner of the Daily Mail.