Berliner Tageblatt - Hugh Grant settles lawsuit against UK tabloid publisher

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Hugh Grant settles lawsuit against UK tabloid publisher
Hugh Grant settles lawsuit against UK tabloid publisher / Photo: © AFP

Hugh Grant settles lawsuit against UK tabloid publisher

Actor Hugh Grant said Wednesday he had settled a court claim against Rupert Murdoch's British tabloid publisher over allegations of unlawful information gathering, to avoid a legal bill of millions of pounds.

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While no details of the settlement with News Group Newspapers (NGN) were given, Grant said on social media he had been offered an "enormous sum of money" not to go to court.

Despite the settlement, dozens of claimants -- including Prince Harry -- are pursuing NGN over its alleged practices, the High Court in London heard at a hearing Wednesday.

Harry's claim, one of several he has brought against UK newspaper publishers in recent years, is to go to trial in January.

Earlier this month, King Charles III's youngest son settled a long-running claim against Mirror Group Newspapers and is also bringing legal action against the publisher of the Daily Mail.

In a series of social media posts, Grant confirmed he had opted against going to trial in January, blaming civil litigation rules for potentially landing him with costs approaching £10 million ($12 million).

"As is common with entirely innocent people, they are offering me an enormous sum of money to keep this matter out of court," the 63-year-old actor said on X, formerly Twitter.

"I don't want to accept this money or settle. I would love to see all the allegations that they deny tested in court.

"But the rules around civil litigation mean that if I proceed to trial and the court awards me damages that are even a penny less than the settlement offer, I would have to pay the legal costs of both sides."

Grant added he was "shying at that fence" after his lawyers advised that that was likely.

The star sued NGN over accusations of unlawful behaviour by its journalists and private investigators for The Sun tabloid.

Grant previously accepted a "substantial sum" from the publisher -- part of Murdoch's global media empire -- in a 2012 claim related to the activities of its now-shuttered News Of The World title.

An NGN spokesperson said Grant's claim had been settled "without admission of liability" and that it was "in both parties' financial interests not to progress to a costly trial".

The spokesperson added The Sun "does not accept liability or make any admissions to the allegations" still pending against the tabloid in the High Court.

In his posts, Grant claimed NGN has spent over £1 billon in damages to claimants and in lawyers' fees in settling over 1,500 claims.

He vowed that his settlement funds would be "repurposed" into the "general campaign to expose the worst excesses of our oligarch-owned press".

R.Adler--BTB