EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Scotland Yard has informed Hollywood music agent Julie Colbert that her cell phone calls were intercepted because she represented Welsh pop star Charlotte Church. The WME tenpercenter who works for music clients in film and television was back and forth between Los Angeles and London when the hacking occurred, my insiders say. That’s because, at the time, Church was working closely with the crossover agent and even staying as a guest in Colbert’s home for several months to get away from the paparazzi constantly trailing the singing sensation. “Scotland Yard told Julie, ‘Your number came up as one of the ones that was hacked,” an insider tells me. I understand that Colbert hasn’t decided yet whether to file a claim because of the hacking. That might prove touchy because her agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment does a lot of business with News Corp subsidiaries like Fox Broadcasting, Twentieth Fox TV, and the Fox Filmed Entertainment Group.
No information was provided Colbert exactly who did the hacking: News Corp’s journalists or private detectives. But Bloomberg reported earlier today that Glenn Mulcaire, the former News Corp private detective who hacked phones for the company’s News Of The World, had an unidentified WME agent’s numbers as well as Charlotte Church’s New York publicist Kevin Chiaramonte of Paul Freundlich Associates among thousands of pages of notes seized by police. That agent, I’ve learned, was Colbert.
Church told an officially UK inquiry into press ethics in November that the evidence includes “many pages of names, numbers, notes, addresses, pin numbers and the fact that my mother and I were each a ‘project.”’ Church sang at News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s wedding in 1999 when she was 13 years old. Now 26, she settled a lawsuit this week against Murdoch’s company days before the first trial over the phone-hacking scandal was scheduled to start. Terms will be disclosed at a London court hearing next week.
Besides Church, recently Jude Law, Steve Coogan, and other high-profile showbiz figures have settled. News Corp still faces possible claims by more than 800 likely victims identified by police. The presence of the U.S. phone numbers in Mulcaire’s notes may interest U.S. prosecutors and also may complicate News Corp efforts to contain lawsuits to the UK. Meanwhile, News Corp is launching a new Sunday edition of The Sun to replace the News Of The World which was shuttered because of the scandal.