After months of testimony and legal wrangling, Rupert Murdoch's News International decided on Thursday to go ahead and settle 36 high-profile phone-hacking cases at once, getting the attendant publicity out of the way in one swoop. And there's reason to pay attention: The victims here include some pretty well-known names, and most took pretty low payments. In addition to athletes, government ministers and friends of the famous, News International paid out about $62,000 to former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, and about $200,000 to Jude Law, who says his phone was hacked while he was in the United States. That's pretty paltry compared to the $3.2 million News International had to pay to the family of murder victim Milly Dowler. Most of Thursday's payments came in well below $100,000. And with the settlements Murdoch has, in one day, put to rest the majority of the 60 phone-hacking lawsuits against News International. As we pointed out a couple weeks ago, with News Corporation (and News International) poised to make billions on new Simpsons syndication deals alone, the payments represent small change to the company indeed.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.