EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has learned that American legal action in the News Corp phone-hacking scandal could come as early as the end of this week. UK lawyer Mark Lewis, one of the first to pursue allegations of hacking at the now-defunct News Corp-controlled News Of The World tabloid, will hold a press conference in Manhattan with his U.S. colleague Norman Siegel, former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union. A source close to the lawyers’ camp says the duo will announce what actions — legal and otherwise — it plans to take against Rupert Murdoch’s empire in the U.S. We are told that no names will be given regarding the three stateside hacking cases Lewis and Siegel are contemplating. However, we have learned that despite speculation neither David Beckham, nor Jude Law (nor one of his associates), nor Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell are among potential litigants. “People are getting the names completely wrong,” the insider says. One of the individuals is, however, an American citizen. The lawsuits would be the first to be filed in the U.S., where News Corp has so far limited its exposure to the ongoing hacking investigations in Britain.
Meanwhile (and coincidentally?), a press conference will be held in London earlier Thursday for Dial M For Murdoch, a new book co-authored by UK Labour Party MP Tom Watson. The book will be published the same day in what was a “closely guarded secret,” according to The Independent. Watson — who led the questioning of Rupert and James Murdoch at the House of Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearings last summer (during which the elder Murdoch was assaulted by a pie-thrower) — co-wrote the book with Martin Hickman, a journalist at The Independent. Subtitled News Corporation And The Corruption Of Britain, the 350-page tome “gives the first connected account of the wrongdoing over the last decade at News International,” according to notes from publisher Penguin. It “will be one of the most attacked books this year,” Watson told The Independent.