UK Attorney: 7,000 People May Have Had Phone Messages Hacked By Murdoch's News Of The World

A British attorney representing potential victims in the phone hacking scandal that continues to rock Rupert Murdoch's News of the World claims that as many as 7,000 people may have had their phone messages intercepted.

Another attorney involved in the case, who dubbed the unraveling story “Rupert Murdoch's Watergate,” claims legal damages could end up costing Murdoch's company $70 million.

From The Independent [emphasis added]:

The phone hacking scandal took another dramatic turn yesterday when a leading lawyer claimed that up to 7,000 people may have had their phone messages intercepted by the News of the World.

As the paper's owner News International was engulfed by a torrent of fresh claims and condemnation, after the paper's public apology for “voicemail interception” in 2004-2006, Charlotte Harris suggested many public figures suing for breach of privacy would not settle quickly or cheaply.

Another lawyer estimated that the total legal bill facing the paper's owner, News International, could reach £40m, double the amount the company is thought to have set aside. Rod Dadak described the paper's apparent mass hacking of mobile phones as “Rupert Murdoch's Watergate”. “It's a black hole,” said Mr Dadak, of Lewis Silkin, who acts for potential litigants. "£20m may be substantially too little, it could be double that."

Meanwhile, UK's Guardian alleged Murdoch used his political influence to try to get Labour Party leaders to back off further investigations into the hacking scandal.