Prince Harry’s attorney goes after Rupert Murdoch in phone-hacking case

Prince Harry wearing a blue suit and gray tie
An attorney for Prince Harry has implicated Rupert Murdoch in the Duke of Sussex’s case against News Group Newspapers.
(Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press)

An attorney for Prince Harry accused Rupert Murdoch this week of knowing about News Group Newspapers’ alleged use of illegal tactics such as phone hacking to acquire information about the Duke of Sussex and others.

Lawyer David Sherborne went after Murdoch on Wednesday during a three-day hearing in London’s High Court to add more allegations to the duke’s lawsuit against the publisher. Harry, actor Hugh Grant and other claimants now allege that Murdoch and other media executives were complicit in a scheme to conceal and destroy evidence of News Group Newspapers’ misconduct.

“It is inferred that they would not have been carrying out this extensive concealment and destruction strategy without the knowledge and approval of Rupert Murdoch,” Sherborne said in a court filing, according to the Associated Press.


Prince Harry has won his phone-hacking lawsuit against the Daily Mirror publisher, the first of his several lawsuits against tabloids going to trial.

Dec. 15, 2023

In a statement provided Friday to The Times, a spokesperson for News Group Newspapers said that the company delivered an “unreserved apology ... to victims of voicemail interception” and has been paying damages to those affected since 2011.

“These allegations have nothing to do with seeking compensation for victims of phone hacking or unlawful information gathering and should be viewed with considerable caution not only in relation to their veracity but also in the light of those who are behind them,” the spokesperson said. “They are irrelevant to the fair and just determination of claims.”

Defense attorney Anthony Hudson dismissed the additional allegations as an attempted campaign “against the tabloid press” and “substitute for a public inquiry.” He added that the proposed amendments “appear to be designed to grab headlines.”

The News Group lawsuit alleges that staffers at tabloids the News of the World and the Sun violated Harry, Grant and others’ privacy by intercepting voicemails, tapping phones, bugging cars and lying to spy on them between 1994 and 2016. The claimants have also accused newspaper executives of putting out false statements, erasing millions of emails and paying hush money to hide the illegal activity.

Murdoch — the former chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp. who stepped down from his position in September — and other execs stand accused of disseminating a false narrative that “one rogue reporter” at News of the World was to blame for the espionage.

Murdoch will be chairman emeritus of Fox Corp. and News Corp., while his son Lachlan will become the sole chairman in charge of the companies.

Sept. 21, 2023

“Those individuals, and NGN and News International corporately, were dishonest in making these statements since they knew them to be false at the time they were made,” Sherborne told the Associated Press.


The News Group trial date is tentatively set for January.

Harry has also sued two other British publishers for using illegal methods to gather intel. In December, the rebellious member of the English monarchy won his phone-hacking lawsuit against the publisher of the Daily Mirror.

A High Court justice awarded Harry 140,000 pounds after determining that Mirror Group Newspapers regularly hacked phones and tapped private investigators to spy on the duke and people close to him. The justice also found that executives at the publisher covered up journalists’ actions.

“Today is a great day for truth, as well as accountability,” Harry said in a statement read by his attorney after the verdict was reached in December.

“I’ve been told that slaying dragons will get you burned. But in light of today’s victory and the importance of doing what is needed for a free and honest press, it is a worthwhile price to pay. The mission continues.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.